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Microsoft announces Windows Hello; says Windows 10 to launch “this summer”

By Ng Chong Seng - on 18 Mar 2015, 12:00pm

Microsoft announces Windows Hello; says Windows 10 to launch “this summer”

(Image source: Microsoft.)

At the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) summit in Shenzhen, China, Microsoft showed off Windows Hello, a technology that lets you access your devices through biometric authentication.

A feature that will ship in Windows 10, you can use your face, iris, or fingerprint to unlock your devices, automatically sign-in to Windows, and more. Of course, this requires hardware support, and Microsoft is currently working with PC OEMs to build Windows Hello-capable devices in time for the new operating system. If your device already has a fingerprint reader, you’re all set. For facial and iris recognition however, specific hardware and software are needed, such as the Intel RealSense 3D Camera (with an F200 sensor).

In addition to unlocking of devices, Windows Hello can also be used to authenticate applications, enterprise content, and online experiences. To solve security issues related to passwords being stored on servers, there’s “Passport”, which simply put, securely authenticates you to apps, websites, and networks without sending any password. In addition, this biometric signature is never sent over the network, and is stored on-device, thus reducing the risk of biometric data theft.

Expectedly, Passport is also a feature in Windows 10, and according to Microsoft, it will work with thousands of enterprise Azure Active Directory services at launch. The company has also joined the FIDO alliance to support replacing passwords with a growing set of financial, consumer, and other security services over time.

Here’s a video showing Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport at work:

 

Windows 10 availability

The Redmond-headquartered company has also announced that Windows 10 will be available in 190 countries and in 111 languages come this summer, so we’re looking at an end June to early September timeframe. As reported earlier, the first year after Windows 10 is available, it will be a free upgrade for all devices running Windows 8.1, Windows Phone 8.1, and even Windows 7.

Interestingly, among Microsoft's various new moves in China, one of them is a new program with Xiaomi, whereby some Xiaomi Mi 4 power users are invited to download and test the Windows 10 Technical Preview on their devices. Does that mean we might see a Xiaomi Windows 10 handset in the future?

Source: Microsoft (1, 2).

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