The product, based on technology included in Microsoft Windows XP Embedded with Services Pack 2, is the first retail operating system delivered by Microsoft's Mobile and Embedded Devices Division that provides plug-and-play functions for point-of-service and point-of-sale equipment.
Windows Embedded for Point of Service supports a range of retail applications, device peripherals, and services for electronic cash registers, point-of-sale terminals, and self-service checkout terminals.
Plug-and-play features in the offering allow retailers to easily add new devices, says Microsoft, which should help save time and money when equipment fails. "Retailers typically keep their equipment for years," says Jason Demeny, product manager for Windows Embedded Point of Service. "If a scanner bought in 1991 fails, the retailer would either have to find that exact scanner, or spend time to reintegrate their entire system to incorporate a new-model scanner."
Windows Embedded for Point of Service also supports third-party security platforms from companies such as Computer Associates and Sygate Inc. Products for the platform are being developed by more than 40 Microsoft industry partners, including Cherry Electrical Products, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, M-Systems, Symbol Technologies, and 360Commerce. Retailers OfficeMax and Rite Aid are evaluating the platform.
Microsoft also has made available a verification program, offered by third-party partner VeriTest, the testing division of Lionbridge Technologies Inc., and online database catalog to let companies identify drivers, peripherals, and applications that work with the platform.