Microsoft have released a non-commercial version of Windows based on Windows 8.1 to run on the Intel Galileo development board. A spokesperson for Microsoft said "This preview Windows image is another opportunity for makers and developers to create, generate new ideas and provide feedback to help Microsoft continue making Windows even better on this class of device".
The board and OS are part of the Windows Developer Program for the IoT (Internet of Things) which Microsoft hopes will encourage developers of Internet-connected devices to experiment with Windows platforms. The Galileo kits include the standard Arduino Wiring API and a subset of the Win32 API. At the moment Linux is the OS of choice among makers and for the next generation of devices but Microsoft hopes to break that dominance. Intel released an update to the original Galileo Gen 1 board earlier this month which features an improved control of its PWM (Pulse Width Modulated) output signals to make the board better suited for the management of 3D printers and robotic applications. Galileo Gen 2 can also be powered from the Ethernet port which the earlier Gen 1 version did not allow.
This new release of Windows will however only run on the first-generation Galileo hardware, but according to Microsoft, support for the Galileo Gen 2 board will be catered for in future releases. To encourage uptake Intel will be donating 50,000 Gen 2 boards to 1,000 universities.