An embedded system is typically a special purpose computer which performs a specific task in an industrial or commercial setting. Unlike a consumer computer which is built to be extremely flexible in the type and range of tasks it can perform an embedded system will often have a very narrow focus - such as controlling a single machine or performing a single job. As a result an embedded system is often built with limited computing power, storage and specialized software designed to limit costs (not to mention power consumption) and give it just the right specifications for the intended usage.

As terminal emulation specialists, Turbosoft also develop terminal emulation software for this class of device.

What Sort of Tasks Are Embedded System Employed for?

A huge variety of machines can be classified as embedded devices. Often the computer element will be behind the scenes and the individual using the device will not be aware there is a full computer system ‘embedded’ in the device. Some examples include vending machines, industrial control equipment, automobiles and transport industry vehicles, household appliances and so on.

Windows CE as an Operating System for Embedded Systems

There are a number of operating systems which power embedded devices, one of which is Microsoft’s Windows CE.

Windows CE
Microsoft's Window CE® operating system.

It’s important to note that although the hardware can occasionally be handheld or contain similar specifications to a mobile phone, Windows CE is NOT a smart phone operating system, for that, look to Windows Mobile or Windows Phone 7 (Windows Mobile terminal emulation is available via the links at the end of the article).

First time users of Windows CE will be greeted with an interface which is reminiscent of Microsoft’s Windows 2000 desktop operating system (see below), however applications for Windows desktop operating systems such as Windows 2000, Windows Vista and Windows 7 cannot be installed in a Windows CE environment - software must be specifically designed for the CE platform.

Given that Windows CE is intended for use on portable and embedded systems it comes in versions for the two types of chip sets that feature most prominently in this area, namely, ARM based processors and x86 processors. x86 processors are the line of microprocessor which have historically powered consumer desktop systems - if you’re viewing this on a laptop or desktop computer chances are your using a device powered by the x86 family of processors.

On the other hand, if you’re viewing this webpage on a smart phone or tablet device you more than likely holding an ARM powered device in your hand. Historically ARM devices are not as powerful in comparison to their x86 rivals but they have a large advantage in terms of lower power requirements, making them an obvious choice for portable (battery powered) devices.

Windows CE software developed for one specific processor is not compatible with the other and so, consequently, Turbosoft develops terminal emulation for both of these systems.

Knowing which ‘flavor’ of software you need is about knowing the specifications of the device you intend to install upon. Of course, your hardware documentation is the best source for this information. Windows CE also contains this information under the system control panel (settings > control panel > system).

What Does Turbosoft Do for Terminal Emulation on Embedded Systems?

Turbosoft’s terminal emulation software for Windows CE is TTWinCE. If you’re familiar with TTWin, our Windows terminal emulator you’ll be pleased to discover many of it’s  features are also available in TTWinCE. This includes our wide range of terminal coverage, support for scanners, hotspot and screen panning for touch screen devices and the usually extensive range of terminal configuration and keyboard mapping options that you can expect from a fully featured Turbosoft terminal emulator. And, as TTWinCE shares a common heritage with TTWin you can be certain of the same accuracy and quality in terminal emulation as our Windows desktop software.

Download a free trial of TTWinCE - for best results be sure to know the type of processor in use on your target device and the operating system in use. TTWinCE is available for ARM and x86 devices and for Windows CE 4.x or Windows CE 5.x and above.