Because Windows CE was a relative newcomer (1996) to the embedded space it had quite a bit of competition then and still today. It competes in the markets of both general embedded OSes like VxWorks and open consumer PDA OSes like Palm OS or Symbian. Its competition is also a bit different when comparing the consumer PDA versions with general purpose embedded versions. For example: Palm OS is JUST a PDA OS and is close to useless in network appliaces such as routers. WinCE has much more serious competition in this device category from Linux.


  • QNX
  • Embedded Linux
  • uCOS
  • VXWorks
  • Embedded DOS
  • Symbian OS? (Other than feature phones, its Doubtful)
  • NetBSD?
  • Windows XP/NT Embedded
  • Other in-house proprietairy operating systems

Consumer Mobile Devices

  • Symbian OS
  • Palm OS
  • Qtopia/Opie for Embedded Linux
  • GPE Palmtop Environment for Embedded Linux
  • Mobile OSX (BSD) as in Apple iPhone?

Windows CE itself (customized embedded versions)


  • GEOS
  • DOS

All of the above Operating Systems/environments are or were at some point in direct competition with the following Windows CE platforms:

  • Handheld PC
  • Palm Size PC
  • Pocket PC
  • Smartphone

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