Microsoft plans to introduce two new webcams next year. One feature is designed to extend Windows Hello facial recognition to all the Windows 10 PCs. The other feature will work with the Xbox One, bringing back the Kinect feature that let users automatically sign in by moving in front of the camera. These webcams will be working with multiple accounts and family members.
Microsoft is also planning to launch its Surface Hub 2S in 2019, an interactive, digital smart board for the modern workplace that features a USB-C port and upgradeable processor cartridges. PC users have relied on alternatives from Creative, Logitech, and Razer to bring facial recognition to desktop PCs.
The planned webcams will be linked to the USB-C webcams that would ship with the Surface Hub 2, whichwill be launched next year. Though the Surface Hub 2X is expected in 2020.
In an interview with The Verge in October, Microsoft Surface Chief, Panos Panay suggested that Microsoft could release USB-C webcam soon. “Look at the camera on Surface Hub 2, note it’s a USB-C-based camera, and the idea that we can bring a high fidelity camera to an experience, you can probably guess that’s going to happen,” hinted Panos in October.
A camera could possibly be used to extend experience beyond its own Surface devices. The camera for Windows 10, for the first time, will bring facial recognition to all Windows 10 PCs. Currently, Windows Hello facial recognition is restricted to the built-in webcams just like the ones on Microsoft’s Surface devices.
According to Windows watcher Paul Thurrott, Microsoft is making the new 4K cameras for Windows 10 PCs and its gaming console Xbox One. The webcam will return a Kinect-like feature to the Xbox One which will allow users to authenticate by putting their face in front of the camera.
With the recent Windows 10 update, Microsoft enabled WebAuthn-based authentication, that helps in signing into its sites such as Office 365 with Windows Hello and security keys. The Windows Hello-compatible webcams and FIDO2, a password-less sign in with Windows Hello at the core, will be launched together next year.
It would be interesting to see how the new year turns out to be for Microsoft and its users with the major releases.