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Windows 10's Windows Hello

Apart from enabling remote unlocking of Windows 10 PCs, Microsoft is also keen to see a bigger scope for Continuum as part of its Anniversary Update plans.

Microsoft has spelt out there will be some exciting new feature addition to the mega Windows 10 Anniversary update due this summer. And Windows Unlock is one aspect that Microsoft is keen to harp on that will allow users to unlock their Windows 10 PC using a host of external devices.

For instance, users will be able to use their Windows and/or Android-based smartphones to unlock Windows 10 PC. The smartphones though will be required to have the right authentication credentials stored on them to enable those to both unlock the PCs as well as authenticate apps and services that rely on Windows Hello and Microsoft Passport Authentication.

The way it works is this: the phone is first paired with the PC using Bluetooth. Next, the user is required to dismiss the lock screen on the PC, which triggers a notification that is sent to the mobile. It is only after the user has approved it that the PC unlocks.

That is not all for Microsoft is also introducing the concept of ‘Companion devices’ that conform to the Companion Device Framework and can also authenticate the unlocking of the Windows 10 PC. Microsoft Band 2 is already being promoted as a valid companion device which can be used to perform a valid gesture such as clapping in front of the PC to unlock it. Also, of course, Microsoft is keen to enlarge the scope of companion devices to include other third-party devices as well apart from the Band 2.

Among other features that too will be included in the Anniversary Update includes enhanced scope for the Continuum feature. For instance, the feature that so far allowed a Continuum-enabled smartphone to hook onto an external display to give a PC-like experience will also be able to connect to touch-enabled monitors as well.

That is not all for a laptop like docks too are being mooted, something along the lines of the Nexdock. In such a scenario, the laptop will lack an operating system or processor of its own. Instead, it is the Continuum device that will be lending its own to bring the laptop to life.

Further, the casting abilities itself are being generalised to allow for a Continuum-enabled handset to cast on to a PC instead of connecting to its own display. The same theme applies to a Windows 10 PC as well, enabling it to cast to another PC. Even more interesting, a Windows 10-based IoT device lacking a display of its own will be able to hook on to a Windows 10 PC with the latter serving as the interface for the device.

Enhancements to the Edge browser too is being planned, something that will allow notifications such as those from Facebook to appear in the browser even when not browsing.

Overall, the Windows 10 Anniversary update seems to be getting better each day and Microsoft too seems to be keen to share the developments with the users as to what to expect. While the move can be seen to keep present users engaged, it could also be a ploy to get more business users to jump onto the Windows 10 bandwagon, a sizeable portion of which are known to still hold on to the Windows 7 platform.

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