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Embedded Windows CE out first in Sega machine

The new box may turn out to be a winner for WebTV's services

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The first fruits of the Microsoft-Sega alliance announced earlier this year will ship in Japan this November, and although Sega doesn't intend to have the product, the Dreamcast games machine, on sale elsewhere until late next year, it has a couple of key features that may be massively significant for Microsoft, and its CE platform. Dreamcast is the first device to use an embedded version of CE as its operating system, running on a 200 MHz Hitachi SH CPU. Microsoft has major plans for embedded CE and NT (Microsoft tools up for embedded NT), and we at The Register sometimes suspect they're going to wind up being the same thing. The embedded CE used in the Sega machine quite possibly isn't yet something you could call a general purpose embedded OS, but the fact that it exists at all means Microsoft has already moved some distance along this road. The other major aspect of the Dreamcast is that's it's actually a combination games player and WebTV set-top box. It can therefore be used for playing games over modems, and for blurring the boundaries between games consoles, interactive TV and the Web. As yet, take-up of WebTV class devices has been slow or, in the case of some of them, non-existent, because it's been difficult to explain to customers what they're for. So getting interactive TV sales pulled through from the games console market might turn out to be a useful secret weapon for WebTV and Microsoft. ® Click for more stories

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