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article imageMicrosoft 'doubles down' on Windows 10 for IoT devices

By James Walker     Feb 28, 2018 in Technology
Microsoft has announced an expansion of its Windows 10 variant for connected Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The company is extending Windows 10 IoT with support for new processor families, which will diversify the applications it's suitable for.
NXP processors
Windows 10 IoT Core was released back in 2015 as a specialist version of the operating system. Unlike the regular Desktop and Server editions, IoT Core is a scaled-back release designed for connected appliances, smart devices and Internet products that live on the edge. It's a way for developers to run a Windows platform on power-optimised industrial devices.
In a blog post this week, Microsoft said the platform is experiencing "growing" demand from its customers and partners. In response to customer requests, it's preparing to add compatibility between Windows 10 IoT Core and NXP processors.
Currently, Microsoft only builds the platform for silicon from Qualcomm, Intel and a handful of other vendors. The addition of NXP to the list will make Windows 10 a more viable platform for industrial environments.
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Support for the NXP i.MX 6 and i.MX 7 processors is currently in private preview. Hardware vendors have already begun to add Windows 10 IoT Core compatibility to their NXP boards. Popular single-board computers from manufacturers including Aeon, Advantech, Keith & Koep, SolidRun and Kontron will now be capable of running Windows 10.
Microsoft said it has updated IoT Core to support the unique capabilities of the chips, including an advanced security feature which prevents physical tampering. Even if an attacker breaches the software layer, they are still unable to affect the physical control of the host device. This provides an important safeguard for devices responsible for controlling sensitive industrial environments.
Extended support
Microsoft's also extending its platform support commitments. The company said it will now provide 10 years of support to Windows 10 IoT Core and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise releases, which will ensure devices keep receiving security patches. Maintaining security is critical to the success of IoT deployments, so the decision to offer more support will extend the life of connected devices running Windows.
"Windows 10 IoT continues to expand its ecosystem, delivering on the promise to create an operating system for all connected devices," said Microsoft. "Through a broader hardware portfolio, customers have greater ability to quickly and securely develop devices to power our lives and our world."
Microsoft said a public Windows 10 IoT Core release with NXP processor compatibility is expected to be launched later this year. Customers who are interested in trialling the private preview can register online to obtain early access to builds that run on NXP silicon.
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