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NTT selects WinCE for debit-card tills

Microsoft says CE was for embedded systems all along so maybe NT isn't after all...

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Japanese giant NTT has licensed Windows CE for a new line of retail terminals designed to work with the county's forthcoming nationwide debit card system. The announcement marks a major expansion of CE's focus, moving beyond hand-held PCs and sub-notebooks to non-PC applications. True, it has already been licensed for Sega's Dreamcast games console, but that's essentially a computer-like application. The terminals will be based on an implementation of CE that lacks the familiar Start bar, menus and application icons. No surprise there -- these GUI features are, after all, largely redundant in a non-computer hardware. Microft figured this one all by itself, apparently, though a company spokesman was contrite: "In retrospect, we may have done the industry a disservice by putting the Windows 95 look and feel on the first generation of devices, because some embedded devices don't even have a UI." So CE was aimed at the embedded business all along, and its lack of success there -- in parallel with its arguable lack of success elsewhere -- was because Microsoft confused those poor GUI-less embedded boys with its GUI. However, this move into the embedded arena, which Microsoft Japan officials were quick to highlight -- "We have broadened the definition of the devices that can use Windows CE," said one -- poses a question: if CE is now Microsoft's embedded OS, what the heck is embedded NT's role going to be? ®

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