While sales of Windows PCs currently dwarf sales of devices running Windows CE, a new study predicts a sharp rise in the sale of Windows CE devices to the point where it will soon outsell the desktop OS.
This forecast comes from eTForecasts, a market research firm for the PC, PDA, information appliances, and Internet industries.
Windows CE and its derivatives are used in far more that just handhelds. It also appears in smartphones, consumer electronics devices, and many other information appliances.
eTForecasts predicts that sales of all of these will see a sharp increase in coming years. It says sales of Windows PCs will increase, too, but not nearly as quickly as Windows CE.
The study says that this year between 135 and 138 million Windows PCs will be shipped, while a mere 14 to 17 million Windows CE devices will ship. But by 2008, Windows PC shipments will be at 190 to 200 million, while Windows CE shipments will be all the way up to 200 to 220 million.
Much of the growth will come in the non-handheld and non-smartphone categories. “Microsoft is taking advantage of the inevitable penetration of microprocessors and embedded software platforms into all electronics devices”, says Dr. Egil Juliussen, the author of the report. “It is not a question if this will happen, but a question of when it will happen for each device category.”
For handhelds and smartphones, Windows CE’s biggest competitor is, of course, the Palm OS and Symbian OS. For other types of devices, the study says that Linux is the chief competition.