The growth of internet of things (IoT) has created a market for IoT support. IoT devices have limited resources. So companies need real-time operating systems (RTOS) that can process information fast for devices with limited processing, memory, and storage.
Microsoft’s Windows 10 IoT is one of the top contenders for providing optimized solutions for IoT devices and applications. It comes in three versions - Windows 10 IoT Core Edition, Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise Edition and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise Edition. For IoT architects and developers, it’s important to understand the key features and distinctions of the various versions. It will help you choose the best solution for any given application.
History: Windows Compact (CE) and Windows Embedded Standard to Windows 10 IoT
Windows CE was designed for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). It had a hybrid kernel. OEMs could create personalized user interfaces and applications using the operating system. Windows Embedded Standard performed similar functions as Windows CE. But instead of a hybrid kernel, it used the Windows NT kernel.
Windows CE wasn’t a great success. It deviated from standard Windows which made it difficult for developers. The differences in the kernel and tools meant companies had to invest extra time and resources to work with Windows CE products.
Microsoft seemed to have learned from that mistake. It has halted the development of its embedded operating system and put those resources into Windows 10 IoT. Windows 10 IoT stays true to Windows 10 core functionalities. It has resulted in a more scalable OS platform.
Windows 10 IoT Core Edition
Core Edition is designed for the most basic IoT devices. It is free to use. However, this edition is intended for lower cost devices that require smaller footprints. It will work well for programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and sensors.
Windows IoT Core will run both on ARM devices and x86/x64 devices. It doesn’t have a shell but you can customize the UI for your company. It can handle a single application and it directly boots to the application.
Windows IoT Core is great for applications that have an ultra-thin client. It only runs Windows Universal apps. So the Core Edition is great for simple devices for smart home, digital signage, and home medical applications.
It provides a wide range of integration options through Universal Windows Platform (UWP) API and Arduino Wiring API. It also works well with Microsoft’s IDE Visual Studio Community Edition. Connect-the-Dots open framework provides easy access to Microsoft Azure Cloud solutions. It can be used with Raspberry Pi 2 & 3, Dragonboard 410c and MinnowBoard MAX.
Minimum Hardware Requirements:
Windows 10 IoT Core can be run in a headed or headless mode. In a headed mode, it requires 256 MB RAM. The operating system uses 128 MB of the RAM. In the headless mode, Core Edition requires 512 MB RAM with 256 MB dedicated to the operating system. In both cases, 400 MHz or faster processor and 2 GB of storage are required.
Windows 10 IoT Mobile Enterprise Edition