In the old days, the three years leading up to a major Windows release would be marked by subsequent trade shows: WinHEC first, for device and driver makers, then PDC for developers, and then TechEd for businesses and IT. But here in late 2014, each of those shows is gone. And if you were to place a bet on which would return, WinHEC would be the last choice. On that note, WinHEC is back. Of course.
That said, the new WinHEC—which now stands for "Windows Hardware Engineering Community" instead of "Windows Hardware Engineering Conference," as before—arrives with a twist. That is, instead of a single large event that happens periodically—they were being held once a year during the show's heyday—the new WinHEC will be a series of smaller, even more frequent shows that are "topic focused workshops that are local to the hardware ecosystem hubs." And the first of these new WinHECs will be held in Shenzhen, China on March 18-19, 2015.
"We are excited to be re-launching WinHEC in Shenzhen," says Microsoft's Matt Perry, who leads the firm's Silicon, Peripheral, Component and IHV Enablement team, part of the OS group. "The Shenzhen ecosystem consists of a diverse community of hardware companies covering electrical design, software engineering, integration, manufacturing, and all other aspects of the computing-device supply chain."
A future WinHEC is coming to Taipei, though Microsoft has not disclosed the dates yet. It's not clear when—or if—a US show will occur. Microsoft's other trade shows—PDC and TechEd—have of course been replaced by other shows. PDC has evolved into BUILD. And TechEd will evolve into ... something. Microsoft hasn't even given the new show, set for May, a name.
And aside from the subtle name change and more distributed nature of the shows, one other not-so-subtle thing may be changing about WinHEC as well. This time around, the shows aren't tied to new hardware support in major Windows and other Microsoft platform releases. So they can evolve a bit more organically and, presumably, address the hardware parts of the heterogeneous "mobile first, cloud first" evolution as they occur. That is, WinHEC should concern more than just Microsoft hardware platforms.
We'll see. But in the meantime, you can learn more about WinHEC 2015 from the Microsoft web site.