A small startup company, .netcpu, will begin shipping a tiny, 32-pin chip-like computer module that runs .NET Embedded, a new Microsoft embedded software platform developed for use in watches and other "smart personal objects.
The smart personal objects technology (also known as SPOT) was released by Microsoft to allow for an even more pervasive computing platform. Current SPOT products include the series of smart watches released by Fossil, Tissot and Swatch. These watches can receive personalised information from services such as MSN Direct. The concept can be applied to any other object that could benefit of a smart computing platform.
An in-depth article on Windows for Devices explains that SPOT's .NET Embedded software stack, called .NET Embedded, includes bootstrap code, to initialize the system on powerup; a Tiny HAL (hardware abstraction layer) plus device drivers, to control the underlying system hardware; and a Tiny CLR (common language routine), through which the device is programmed.
The Tiny CLR implements a subset of the .NET Common Language Runtime (CLR), enabling SPOT devices to run high-level code written using a subset of the .NET Framework, a runtime environment (the .NET Framework subset for Windows CE is known as .NET Compact Framework).
The Tiny CLR, which occupies under 132KB of memory, contains enough functionality to be suitable for embedded device applications and is programmable and debugable using Visual Studio.NET (C#), according to Donald Thompson, software architect and former development manager for SPOT.
The kit will be available starting Dec. 15th, and is priced at just under $500, the company says.