Windows 10 IoT version is the latest lightweight flavor directed at small embedded devices.
Previewed at Build 2015 and prereleased as “Windows Core Insider Preview”. it will be interesting to see just how this product will be received. This initial released is directed at the “Maker” community which is quite a change for Microsoft as this segment is not perceived as a large profit center unlike its traditional targets. While the Raspberry Pi is a very popular platform in the Maker community it is still mostly used for small “one of” type projects. It is popular in academic circles and used by many institutions as an introduction platform for beginner programmers. Unfortunately the hardware is very “closed source”, there are no schematics or PCB layout information available and virtually no information on the SoC chip used. True it is a powerful quad core 900Mhz ARM Cortex-A7 processor from Broadcom but if you look on their web site you won’t find any mention of the part nor any information on the part what so ever. So unless you’re a Microsoft you are not going to have access to any of the nitty-gritty hardware details of the processor itself. Not a concern for most as long as you do not plan on commercializing your Pi creation.
I have been using the previous Pi platform for Linux builds for several years so I was looking forward to see how the latest IoT based platform stacked up. The online documentation is pretty good and while they state you need a native installation (not a virtual machine) for the PC based Windows 10 to create the needed SD card. I found this not to be true, my VMWare virtual machine worked just fine for this task.
After you create the SD card and boot the Pi machine you can actually connect to it and manage the device via your browser, all you need is its IP address.
The following screen shows the complete Windows 10 debug setup.
Windows 10 PC desktop running the Windows 10 IoT Core Watcher utility. This utility will attempt to “discover” any IoT core devices that live out there on the local network. Also shown is the Windows PowerShell which is used to establish a secure connection with the IoT device, and finally the latest incarnation of Visual Studio (Visual Studio 2015 RC).
Application development, download and debug is pretty much the same as you may be use to if you have done any previous phone development.
Overall there are still plenty of rough edges and a long list of bugs to be worked out but we are on the right track and having access to the latest, best in class tool chain is a great leap forward.
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