Windows 7 breaks out of the PC

Microsoft has announced that a cut-down version of Windows 7 is now available to OEMs for embedded applications.

The company says it has now finished work on Windows Embedded Standard 7 which will soon appear in thin clients, digital signage, set-top boxes, media players and television sets.

The software includes multi-gesture touch interfaces and context-aware applications as well as smart power management APIs for public kiosks.

"The addition of the Windows Media Center feature in Windows Embedded Standard 7 is driving the set-top box, connected media device and TV markets by providing OEMs with opportunities to develop uniquely branded experiences and service providers with capabilities to explore additional revenue streams with unique content through a centralised media hub in the home," said a Microsoft representative.

360 million flat panel TVs are expected to be sold in the next four years and Microsoft will be doing all that it can to inveigle its way into our living rooms well as our offices.

One of the first products to be powered by the embedded OS is a digital sign which can recognise a user's sex by their physical attributes. In some metropolitan areas, that's a close call for a human to make, never mind a machine.