Microsoft announced today that the embedded versions of Windows 8—Windows 8 Embedded Standard and Windows 8 Embedded Pro—are now available. As with previous Windows Embedded products, the releases target a diverse range of so-called intelligent devices, including point of sale systems, credit card readers, home-based security and energy systems, traffic sensors, automobiles, and more. New to this version is a focus on edge devices in enterprise networks.

“Windows Embedded 8 coupled with the full breadth of Microsoft technologies for intelligent systems helps enterprises gain lasting competitive advantages in retail, manufacturing, healthcare and a variety of industries,” Microsoft Kevin Dallas is quoted as saying in a press release. “Edge devices connected and working in unison with an enterprise’s broader IT infrastructure yield the actionable data and operational intelligence that drive businesses forward.”

While mainstream versions of Windows became highly componentized starting with Windows Vista in 2006, Windows Embedded takes that design to an extreme by allowing device makers to create highly-customized Windows installs that offer only exactly the needed features.

Microsoft describes Windows 8 Embedded Standard as “a componentized version of Windows 8 with additional technologies that extend the power of Windows to specialized devices. Windows 8 Embedded Pro adds “Windows 8 style apps, powerful connectivity, and seamless integration with IT infrastructure.”

A third version, Windows Embedded 8 Industry, is still in Release Preview and will offer “a fixed platform solution based on Windows 8 that provides the capabilities devices in Retail, Financial Services and Hospitality Industries require.”

Mr. Dallas described the Windows 8 Embedded release in a new video if you’d like to know more.