Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld has been released to manufacturing; SDK is now generally available

Posted By Garrett Clarke
Windows Embedded Handheld Product Manager

As a follow-up to Build 2014, we are pleased to announce we recently released the Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld operating system to our partners. We have also released the Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld SDK to allow any enterprise or ISV developer to build applications for Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld devices.

Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld builds on top of all the enterprise capabilities of Windows Phone 8.1 to enable key industry scenarios, such as bulk device provisioning, support for integrated peripherals, the ability to switch between device “roles” and support for USB Host, required by enterprises for industry handheld devices that have integrated peripherals.

What is Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld?

Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld powers the next generation of handheld devices for enterprise line-of-business productivity with the attractive and intuitive usability of Windows Phone 8.1. Designed to be easy to use, easy to lock down and easy to manage in your Windows environment, Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld devices make communication and collaboration easy, whether connecting to customers, collecting data or managing enterprise tasks. Applications written for Windows Phone 8.1 are fully compatible with this enterprise-ready platform. Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld is ready to deploy with security and device management built in, as well as support for Windows Server, Exchange, SharePoint, Lync, Microsoft Dynamics, Office 365 and Microsoft Azure.

What is new in Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld?

Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld has all the features and functionality of Windows Phone 8.1, including full application compatibility. To learn more about the enterprise features in Windows Phone 8.1, please refer to the tech portal.

There are a number of specific features for industry handheld devices in Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld, including the following:

  • Management. Bulk provisioning of devices allowing enterprises to quickly deploy devices across their enterprise
  • Assigned access. Extending device lockdown experience for multiple users that share the same device as well as button remapping, settings provisioning and an out-of-box experience to enable quick provisioning of industry handheld devices
  • API support for integrated peripherals such as barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader
  • Support for USB Host
  • Support for Wi-Fi only devices and hardware keyboard

The first devices available in market running Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld will be from Bluebird and Panasonic:

Bluebird has announced two devices that run Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld:

  • BP30 is a fully rugged 5-inch industry handheld device that is built from the ground up to handle the extended-use demands of industry handheld devices. The device has an extended battery and options for both an integrated barcode scanner and magnetic stripe reader.
  • BM180 is also a 5-inch industry handheld device that, though a slightly smaller form-factor than the BP30, still has options for an integrated scanned and magnetic stripe reader.

Panasonic announced its Toughpad FZ-E1 handheld at Mobile World Congress in February to complement its lineup of enterprise-grade devices for mobile workers built for mission-critical professionals such as those in the military, public safety, transportation and logistics, and field services. This device will ship with Windows Embedded 8.1 Handheld this summer in Japan and Europe. Availability for the U.S. market with voice and data communications will be announced soon.

Look for additional announcements on availability of other devices in the coming months. Additional references: