Microsoft has confirmed that its Windows 10 platform will launch this summer, saying it will be available in 190 countries and 111 languages around the world. The firm also disclosed new technologies supported by Windows 10, including biometric authentication.
The announcement came at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) summit in Shenzhen, China, where Microsoft's executive vice president for Windows, Terry Myerson, disclosed numerous strategic partnerships and initiatives with leading global vendors.
Myerson said that Windows 10 will launch in 190 countries and 111 languages around the world this summer, but declined to give a precise date. However, with the release candidate expected to be ready in time for Microsoft's Build conference at the end of April, a launch in time for midsummer would appear to be possible.
Microsoft reiterated that a free upgrade for Windows 10 will be available to customers running Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone 8.1 who upgrade in the first year after launch.
Windows 10 will deliver new capabilities to enable device makers to create technology and experiences for customers around the world, according to Myerson, who demonstrated one such new feature for the first time.
Windows Hello is the whimsical codename for biometric authentication support that enables users to unlock access to devices and services using facial, iris or fingerprint recognition instead of a password.
"Windows Hello will make Windows 10 more personal by providing instant access to your devices through biometric authentication - using your face, iris or fingerprint to unlock your devices - with technology that is significantly safer than traditional passwords," said Myerson, writing on the Windows Blog.
"We're working closely with our hardware partners to deliver Windows Hello-capable devices that will ship with Windows 10."
Microsoft claims to be making Windows Hello as secure as possible, so it will be an enterprise-grade solution that government, defence, financial, healthcare and other organisations can use to provide access to systems. It will be part of a wider system called Passport that developers can use to let customers sign-in to services and applications, including Microsoft's own Azure Active Directory services.
Windows Hello uses existing fingerprint reader hardware, plus a combination special hardware and software for facial or iris detection. The cameras use infrared technology to identify the user, and will not be fooled by photograph or someone trying to impersonate the user, Microsoft said.
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