Gadgets like the Apple iPhone and other smartphones and the LGTV lead me to believe that embedded operating systems are going to continue to be a hot area for application development. In the not-so-distant future, you will be hard-pressed to find an electronic gadget that is not labeled “smart” in some way because it has interactive software.

That is why Microsoft’s announcement that it has delivered Windows 7 technologies to device manufacturers with the release of Windows Embedded Standard 7 intrigues me. By their very nature, embedded operating systems and technologies are, from the consumer’s perspective, hidden. No one really cares that a set top box is running Windows 7 or Linux or whatever, they are concerned only that the set top box works like it should. So should the IT universe be excited or even mildly intrigued by Windows Embedded Standard 7?

And to add fuel to the fire, just this past week, Hewlett-Packard purchased Palm and its webOS, which puts another huge international company with deep pockets into the embedded operating system picture. So which embedded system will prevail? Will there be a clear winner or will we have several popular platforms? And, probably most importantly, will it matter to end users?

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