Microsoft Plans a New Family of Webcams for 2019

Posted on December 21, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Hardware, Microsoft Surface, Windows 10, Xbox One with 20 Comments

It’s been several years since Microsoft has released a webcam. But two separate sources tell me that the firm is plotting a return to this market in 2019. And that at least one of the new 4K-capable cameras could work with both Windows 10 PCs and Xbox One.

This is a big deal on a number of levels.

For Windows 10 users, one new Microsoft’s webcam will provide Windows Hello-based authentication, marking the first time the firm has provided this capability on a standalone camera. To date, Microsoft has provided Windows Hello functionality via the camera systems built into its Surface PCs only.

On Xbox One, this webcam could provide a much-missed feature from the Kinect, the ill-fated peripheral that is no longer sold with that console: Users will be able to sign-in automatically simply by moving in front of the camera. This will work with multiple users, too, so that friends or family members can join an in-session game session.

Microsoft’s new webcams might be tied in some way to the new USB-C-based webcam that it will ship alongside Surface Hub 2 later this year as well. That device has multiple USB-C ports around its periphery so that you can mount a single camera where you like, or use multiple cameras. I’ve been told that one Microsoft webcam will be enterprise-focused, and I’m wondering if this isn’t, in fact, the same camera that will be used with Surface Hub 2. Certainly, a Surface-branded webcam with Windows Hello capabilities makes a lot of sense.

 

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