You like dragons?
Strange. Internet Explorer 4, two years ago? I'm pretty sure at that point of time, new Windows CE devices should come with at least IE7, and maybe IE9 Mobile is already made available then.
I suspect the Windows CE laptop you've gotten wasn't new.
Also, Windows CE is actually, technically speaking, a kernel. It's also what's behind Windows Mobile and Windows Phone 7.x - it's the latter part that I'd like to bring your attention to. It's one of the few mobile operating systems that can make great use of limited system resources, and it flies.
(Windows Phone 8.x moved to Windows NT.)