Windows 10 Anniversary Update Brings Windows Ink Support And ’Hello' Biometrics To Apps

Microsoft had plenty to say about Windows 10 during its Build Conference on Wednesday. One of them is that its latest OS is now installed on more than 270 million active devices, an adoption rate that outpaces Windows 7 in the same time frame by 145 percent. That's impressive, but 270 million installs is far from the end game—Microsoft is eyeing 1 billion installs within the next few years. The Redmond outfit will need to continually improve Windows 10 in order to get there, and come this summer, the Windows 10 Anniversary Update will introduce several nifty features to keep those upgrades from tapering off.

Part of the focus with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update is on biometric security. According to Microsoft, 8 out of 10 people recycle the same password for multiple websites, sometimes juggling as many as 30 accounts. Microsoft's Windows Hello feature allows users to sign into Windows via fingerprint, iris, or facial recognition, and with the forthcoming update, it will also support Windows apps and Microsoft's Edge browser. In doing so, Edge will become the first and only browser on the planet to natively support biometrics. The catch? Sites will have to jump on board to support the feature as well.

In addition to biometrics, Microsoft is improving pen support in Windows 10 with something called Windows Ink.

Windows Ink

"Windows Ink is an all-new experience, putting the power of Windows in the tip of your pen, enabling you to write on your device as you do on paper, creating sticky notes, drawing on a whiteboard, and easily sharing your analog thoughts in the digital world. Windows Ink is integrated into apps like Maps, Microsoft Edge, and Office," Microsoft stated in a blog post.

Developers shouldn't feel overwhelmed with this new feature. At the Build Conference, Microsoft demonstrated how Ink support can be added to apps with very little code—as little as two lines in some instances.

Microsoft also promises better gaming with the Windows 10 Anniversary Update. Part of the reason behind that claim is because Microsoft will continue to push its Universal Windows Platform initiative, bringing apps to Xbox One through a unified Windows Store. In addition, the update will allow any Xbox One console to be a developer kit with Xbox Dev Mode.

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update will be free to all existing Windows 10 users. It's interesting that Microsoft specifically points that out, which perhaps hints of a day when major Windows updates won't be free.