• Fri. Jul 12th, 2024

Windows CE, Microsoft’s stunted middle child, reaches end of support at 26 years

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Oct 30, 2023

Enlarge (credit: Aurich Lawson | Getty Images)

It was a proto-netbook, it was a palmtop, it was a PDA, it was Windows Phone 7 but not Windows Phone 8, and then it was an embedded ghost. It parents never seemed to know what to do with it after it grew up, beyond offer it up for anybody to shape in their own image. And then, earlier this month, with little notice, Windows CE was no more, at least as a supported operating system. Windows Embedded Compact 2013, better (but not popularly) known as Windows CE 8.0, reached end of support on October 10, 2023, as noted by The Register.

Windows CE, which had a name that didn’t stand for anything and was often compacted to an embarrassing “wince,” is not survived by anything, really. Remembrances have been offered by every Microsoft CEO since its inception and one former Ars writer. A public service for the operating system will be held in the comments.

The OS that fit in small spaces

Windows CE was initially Microsoft Pegasus, a team working to create a very low-power, MIPS or SuperH-based reference platform for manufacturers making the smallest computers with keyboards you could make back then. Devices like the NEC MobilePro 200, Casio (Cassiopeia) A-10, and HP 300LX started appearing in late 1996 and early 1997, with tiny keyboards, more-landscape-than-landscape displays, and, by modern standards, an impressive number of ports.

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