Windows Embedded is a family of operating systems from Microsoft designed for use in embedded systems. Microsoft makes available four different categories of operating systems for embedded devices targeting a wide market, ranging from small-footprint, real-time devices to point of sale (POS) devices like kiosks. Windows Embedded operating systems are available to OEM system builders, who make it available to end users preloaded with the hardware.
Windows Embedded Compact (previously known as Windows Embedded CE or Windows CE) is the version of Windows Embedded for very small computers and embedded systems, including consumer electronics devices like set-top boxes and gaming consoles. Windows Embedded Compact is a modular real-time operating system with a specialized kernel that can run in under 1 MB of memory. It comes with the Platform Builder tool that can be used to add modules to the installation image to create a custom installation, depending on the device used. Windows Embedded Compact is available for ARM, MIPS, SuperH and x86 processor architectures.
Microsoft made available a specialized version of Windows Embedded Compact, known as Windows Mobile, for use in mobile phones. It is a customized image of Windows Embedded Compact along with specialized modules for use in Mobile phones. Windows Mobile is available in four variants: Windows Mobile Classic (for Pocket PC), Windows Mobile Standard (for smartphones) and Windows Mobile Professional (for PDA/Pocket PC Phone Edition) and Windows Mobile for Automotive (for communication/entertainment/information systems used in automobiles). Modified versions of Windows Mobile were used for Portable Media Centers. Windows Mobile has now been replaced by Windows Phone 7, which is also based on Windows Embedded Compact, but is not compatible with any previous products.