At Microsoft’s Computex 2016 keynote, the company shared a few updates that will be added to the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. One interesting new feature is an upgrade to Windows Hello, which now supports unlocking via external hardware.
During the keynote, Microsoft demonstrated how it would work using two wearables, the Microsoft Band and the Bionym Nymi, and even how the ubiquitous office keycard can be used to unlock a Windows 10 device with Windows Hello.
With wearables, the Windows 10 device will detect if the wearable is nearby. For the Microsoft Band, users will simply need to tap on the Band’s display when prompted on the Windows 10 lockscreen. The Nymi also requires just a tap, as both wearables will be detected via their proximity to the Windows 10 machine.
It wasn’t quite clear how a keycard can be used to unlock Windows 10, but it is likely via an NFC chip in the demo machine. In the demo, it was as simple as tapping the card to the Windos 10 machine the same way one would do on the scanners of your office entrance.
This update to Windows Hello will make it a lot more powerful from its current iteration, which requires embedded hardware within the machine that supports it, such as a fingerprint scanner or an IR camera. The new Windows Hello Companion Device Framework will allow third party products to plug into Windows Hello, allowing it to unlock a Windows 10 machine.
In future, this would also mean making payments or logging into web accounts on Microsoft sites and stores. The update will likely ship with the Anniversary Update, which has no firm timeline beyond “later this year.”