Microsoft is working on a new Windows 10 feature whose main goal is essentially to allow users to authenticate to their desktops with nothing else than a smartwatch.

The company has demoed this new feature on the stage at Computex today using a Microsoft band, making it possible to unlock the PC with wearable integration into Windows Hello.

Although the company hasn’t provided too many details on how exactly this feature is going to work, we know it’s all based on the Windows Hello Companion Device Framework that will be expanded with support for new wearables in the coming updates.


First spotted in April

And while Microsoft is only now demoing the new feature, it was first spotted in April, when references to a new system to unlock a Windows 10 PC with a smartwatch appeared in official documents.

Basically, Microsoft explained that users could turn to “companion devices to unlock Windows PCs,” and this involves a wide array of wearables, including the company’s very own Band fitness tracker.

“Use your Microsoft Band 2, or other devices that integrates with the Windows 10 Companion Device Framework (CFD), as companion device for Microsoft Passport based authentication. With this a device like the Microsoft Band 2 or other third party devices, they can become an external second factor of authentication which can be used to unlock your Windows 10 PCs,” Redmond noted.

The Band needs to be paired with a phone that’s in turn synchronized with the PC, and with Windows Hello, authentication can be automatically performed in Windows 10. This method would be based on a Bluetooth connection between the PC and the smartphone, but in the future, more advanced methods could be used, including NFC support.

Certainly, Microsoft is opening the door to a new world of opportunities for Windows 10 device manufacturers, as more customers are very likely to be interested in such systems to unlock their devices using just a smartwatch. The feature could go live with the Anniversary Update in the summer.

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