Microsoft’s light-weight version of Windows 10 for low-power, connected devices is now available. Windows 10 IoT Core isn’t designed to be a desktop operating system that runs Office, Photoshop, or Steam. But it could power robots, home automation systems, and other products that may have a display… or that may not.

For now, Microsoft has released Windows 10 IoT Core for two devices: the Raspberry Pi 2 and the MinnowBoard Max.

w10 iot core

Both are small, low-power, single-board computers. But the Raspberry Pi 2 features an ARM-based processor, while the MinnowBoard Max has an Intel chip.

These boards are aimed at developers, hobbyists, and educators, among others. By targeting them, Microsoft is looking to encourage people to build interesting things with Windows 10 IoT Core. In the release announcement, Microsoft shows off a robotic hockey table powered by the software. Other highlighted projects include robots, home automation systems, and a system that controls an LED through a Windows Phone app and an Arduino.

While the focus is on the DIY set for now, eventually we could see commercial products powered by Microsoft’s new version of Windows. There are ATMs, point-of-sales machines, and all sorts of other specialized devices that run older Windows CE or Embedded software. Windows 10 IoT Core could be the evolution of that technology and it could be optimized more for home applications than commercial use (think home security systems that are controlled from your phone, rather than fancy cash registers).

Microsoft has been offering preview builds of Windows 10 IoT Core for a little while, but the official release adds support for WiFi and Bluetooth, improved GPIO performance for the Raspberry Pi, and new Universal Windows Platform APIs, among other things.

Just keep in mind, this is not software that will let you get a Windows desktop experience on a $35 Raspberry Pi 2 mini-computer. There’s no Windows shell at all. But developers can create their own apps with or without a graphical user interface.

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8 replies on “Microsoft releases Windows 10 IoT Core for Raspberry Pi 2, MinnowBoard Max”

  1. They really are serious about “Windows Everywhere”, aren’t they? It will be interesting to see if it gains any traction.

    1. might be okay as a toy but i’m not interested if it results in me being pushed into the windows ecosystem for support. MS seems to be able to sell ceo’s on their windows tech with empty promises.

      On embedded RTOS type stuff is great, linux is a very logical and sensible choice. Not windows.

    2. Cant see this going real far. Just a DOS prompt from the 80’s. (Funny how old things come back to the roots)
      What are you gaining with Windows IOT vs Rasbian? If they can tell me there is SOME advantage to using Windows 10 I could understand. Until then I will hack with raspbian

      1. someone mentioned porting old windows XP apps for things like POS, monitors, etc.

      2. Yeah, like brian mentioned, there are various advantages… Many existing embedded systems are still using XP and other ancient operating systems. Everything from vending machines to ATMs for example.

        But while there are plenty of existing competing solution platforms, there still needs to be a central platform that makes it possible to connect into all of these services.

        Otherwise you have to continue to deal with market fragmentation that holds it back and makes it hard to evolve options over time.

        Basically, Microsoft wants to make Windows 10 work with all open source IOT platforms… So they’re going to try and position themselves as the hub of these devices.

        Keep in mind they’re going after the business aspect and not just the hobbyist/tinkerer aspect of these devices. So consistency, cross platform bridging/compatibility , general purpose support, and industry wide ranging flexibility are what they’re aiming for…

        Anyway, most of these IoT devices won’t be using GUI… Like Internet connected lights, medical devices that just need to monitor and report in, network printers, etc. While others would use custom GUI specific to those devices, like POS, media players, etc. along with already having a GUI when working with already existing solutions that just need to work in setups not originally intended, etc.

      3. Individually, probably not all that much. But the advantage of “Windows Everywhere” that I see is that all these things are very compatible, especially development. For example, if I wanted to use Raspberry Pi, PC and a phone for something and needed them to talk to each other, I could reuse a lot of the code (not much relating to UI, but there’s always plenty of code behind the scenes) and adapt most of the rest, without having to learn three very different environments and programming languages, and then try to write code for each of them that does the same thing three times from scratch.

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