Microsoft Showcases 'Future of Retail' at NRF, Annouces Windows Embedded 8 'Industry and Handheld'

At the National Retail Federation (NRF) Annual Convention & EXPO this week, Microsoft is showcasing The Future of Retail Today. Delivers the next generation of Windows Embedded POSReady -- the Release Preview of the Windows Embedded 8 Industry and also announced a Windows Phone 8-based platform called Windows Embedded 8 Handheld to bring new devices designed for industry to market.

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This week at the National Retail Federation (NRF) 102nd Annual Convention & EXPO, in New York City, Microsoft and its embedded OEM partners are showing off updated versions of their products and how they are leveraging Microsoft technologies.

For example "Swivel, a 3-D dressing room from FaceCake Marketing Technologies that uses Windows Embedded and Kinect for Windows to allow shoppers to try on clothes virtually is on demstration."

Swivel by FaceCake uses Kinect for Windows to create a virtual dressing room

As part of its strategy, Microsoft's Windows Embedded Group recently announced its plans to roll out Windows 8-based platforms and technologies--today, at the NRF, the company has announced the preview availability of Windows Embedded 8 Industry. Note, "Windows Embedded 8 Industry is the renamed Microsoft Windows POSReady 7, its point-of-sale optimized solution."

The General availability for the Windows 8 Embedded Industry is expected in mid-2013.

"The new name reflects an expanded focus on supporting not just POS scenarios, but also the entire range of devices that power retail organizations -- as well as devices in manufacturing, health care and any other industry where the ability to perform a specialized function in a secure and reliable way is paramount," said Windows Embedded GM Kevin Dallas.

Microsoft also notes that it has sold 60 million Windows 8 licenses sold to date and apps that are available in more than 200 markets worldwide, "Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 deliver multiple options for retailers to improve interactions with customers."

To complement "Windows Embedded 8 Industry," the Redmondian also announced a platform based on Windows Phone 8 called "Windows Embedded 8 Handheld" and said to be working to bring new devices designed for industry to market with leading manufacturers.

"Microsoft touts that technologies such as SQL Server, Windows Server and Windows Azure allow retailers to address the big data question through quickly analyzing and delivering data to decision-makers."

While "Microsoft Dynamics for Retail enables retailers to be connected, empowered and deliver a complete shopping experience through end-to-end, search-based e-commerce; next generation point of service; and a true omnichannel engine," the company stated.

And that retailers are moving to the cloud to reduce costs, engage employees and improve customer service, and they are increasingly choosing Microsoft Office 365.

The release preview of Windows 8 Embedded Industry can be downloaded here.