This week Microsoft re-launched it’s hardware conference, WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering Community), in Shenzhen China. WinHEC is aimed at PC and Phone makers along with companies working on software and drivers.
In the past WinHEC was a showcase for hardware collaborations between Microsoft and its partners and new initiatives that the software company wanted to push. WinHEC’s return comes as Microsoft prepares to launch Windows 10 across phones, tablets, and PCs and the company needs to get makers on board. Microsoft finds itself having to hustle in mobile and recalibrate in the PC market.
The choice of Shenzen is appropriate as its one of the key manufacturing hubs for almost all the tech we purchase. This conference will be one of four held across Asia aimed at getting companies on board for Windows 10. So what was shown at this WinHEC? Well here are the biggest stories.
At the opening session Windows chief Terry Myerson announced that Lenovo would be launching a series of Windows 10 phones later in the year. The phones will be sold in China as is most of Lenovo’s branded phones. The bigger news (which was tempered) was a pilot program between Microsoft and the hot Android maker of the Xiaomi. The two companies are working on porting a ROM of Windows 10 to Xiaomi’s Mi4 phone. Xiaomi’s VP Hugo Barra called the announcement an experiment between Microsoft and the Mi community. According to sources if this becomes popular Microsoft may offer this option to others. Either way running Windows on an up and comer like Xiaomi is a big deal.
Save the Date
So we now know when Windows 10 will launch; sometime this summer. Myerson revealed that summer is the end goal for the release. Windows 10 will launch in 190 countries and in 111 languages. The only question will be can Microsoft achieve delivering the new OS in time. Right now the company is in the middle of testing Windows 10 across phones and PCs taking user feedback and one has to ask if doing this will delay release.
The Percision TouchPad
With Windows 8 Microsoft introduced native support for multitouch not just for screens but also for touchpads. A few companies got on board like HP to integrate it. The Percision touchpad was introduced with Windows 8.1 and added additional support. With Windows 10 Microsoft is going all in on making touchpads work like Apple’s with more options and gestures.
There was a number of sessions on support for USB-C, the successor for current USB technologies. USB-C is faster than current USB technologies and also easy to plug in. USB-C has been in the news lately because it will be on the new adjectiveless MacBook and the refreshed Chromebook Pixel. USB-C is part of new docking initiatives that include Intel’s WiGig (a form of wireless docking).
Log On with your FACE
Last week, before WinHEC, Microsoft announced Windows Hello. Hello is a new way to login into Windows using facial recognition and (I think) fingerprint. Microsoft also announced Windows Passport which allows programs to use Hello as way to securely sign into websites and apps.
There was plenty more announced but for now these are the big headlines.