Microsoft has announced the resurrection of its WinHEC conference, but with a different name, different target market and different location.
WinHEC used to stand for Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, and were held annually around the U.S. Microsoft would lay out its hardware plans, almost entirely centered around the client PC and servers. At the 2008 show, which I attended, Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 were the main focus.
In the audience were most of the hardware companies I covered, like OEMs, Original Design Manufacturers (ODMs), and Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) like peripheral and component makers. The 2008 show ran in Los Angeles right after the Professional Developer Conference (PDC), which was aimed at the software side.
The last WinHEC was in 2008 and the last PDC was in 2010. Microsoft merged the two into the Build conference starting in 2011, but really, Build has been largely a software show and hardware ran second fiddle.
So, late Friday (were you trying to bury this news, Microsoft?), the new WinHEC was announced in a blog post by Matt Perry, whose LinkedIn profile indicates he leads the SPiCE (Silicon, Peripheral and Component enablement) team for the Operating System Group and manages relations with all of the major hardware vendors.
This isn't the old WinHEC, though. First up, the name now stands for Windows Hardware Engineering Community, which leads to change number two: it will cover a lot more than PCs and servers. It will now cover the tablet and smartphone ecosystem as well.
Finally, the venue has changed. The last WinHEC was in Los Angeles at the LA Convention Center (and what a ridiculous waste of space that was.). The first of the new conferences will be held on March 18-19, 2015 in Shenzhen, China. The next one will be in in Taipei, Taiwan. Perry acknowledged the new reality: that's where the hardware folks are these days.