Microsoft Windows CE 3.0 is an operating system (OS) designed for embedded systems. Two remarkable features are the portability for several different processors and some support for real time programming.
It was specially designed for devices of PDA and mobile phone type. That means computing environments far smaller than the current PCs of today --- smaller memory size, processing power, screen real estate and usually the absence of usable keyboards. For instance, a mid class PDA has usually no more than 32 MB of RAM. That poses severe limits to the performance of programs and to their usability.
So, the Microsoft Windows CE 3.0 OS was developed for a context rather different of the usual PC. And the application programming for it has to be done accordingly.
A distintive feature of Windows CE, vis-a-vis other Microsoft software, is that parts of it are offered in source code form. In 3.0, several device drivers are available to the general public, in source code form. Among them, USB, display, PCMCIA. They are offered mainly through the Platform Builder OS image integrator, but also through other initiatives.
The new Windows CE version, called Microsoft Windows CE .NET, replaces 3.0 with several new functionalities, and of course, a lot more marketing hype.
Windows CE 3.0 has several variations for different devices. An important one is Pocket PC, designed specifically for handheld devices like PDAs.
- Introducing Microsoft Windows CE 3.0 (http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dnce30/html/introwince.asp)
- What's New in Windows CE 3.0 (http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/wceintro/html/wceintrowhatsnewinwindowsce30.asp) A relatively short presentation of Microsoft Windows CE 3.0 innovations relatively to its predecessors.
- Windows CE 3.0 API Reference (http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/wcesdkr/html/wce30oriWindowsCE30APIReference.asp) A complete reference to Windows CE 3.0 API: as a reference, it is rather complete, but is not a good place to get an overview.
- Comparing Windows CE 3.0 with Windows CE 2.12 (http://msdn.microsoft.com/embedded/prevver/ce3/ce212v30/default.aspx) Comparing CE 3.0 with the previous version.
- Windows CE Feature by Feature (http://msdn.microsoft.com/embedded/prodinfo/compare/wincefea/default.aspx) Comparison of several versions of Windows CE .NET and CE 3.0
- Comparing Windows CE 3.0 and Windows NT Embedded 4.0 (http://msdn.microsoft.com/embedded/prevver/ce3/ce30vt40/default.aspx)
- Benchmarking Real-time Determinism in Microsoft Windows CE (http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/dncenet/html/benchmarking.asp)