Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Windows 10 is here

Microsoft's big day is here and for biometrics that means Hello, biometric authentication for Windows 10 devices.

The promo is quite snappy.

But even though the promo piece concentrates on face recognition, Hello face logins are limited to the Intel Real Sense 3D camera. With limited options for external face hardware, how about fingerprints? Does Hello support a wider range of fingerprint hardware? It appears that it does.

Foraging around the internet, I found this May, 2015 piece by Richard Hay at that details his experience integrating an off-the-shelf budget fingerprint reader with a beta version of Windows 10 Hello. It seems pretty straightforward. That means that the fingerprint login is probably going to be easier for most people who want to take advantage of Hello, at least on desktops. Carrying a USB connected piece of hardware won't work as well for mobiles running Windows 10, but it makes sense to expect Windows phones with onboard fingerprint readers soon, especially given Microsoft's investment in Hello..

My personal preference on fingerprint hardware is for sensors that capture the whole image of the fingerprint instantly over the swipe readers, but they are more expensive.

All the early Hello press revolves around access to the device, and it's true that Windows and fingerprint hardware manufacturers have supported a lot of this functionality for years, now. It remains to be seen how deeply into the operating system the biometrics go. Still, one fewer password is welcome.