Windows 10 Continuum 'months away'

VP demos features which will appear in the next Windows 10 Preview

Microsoft's VP of PCs is confident the firm's unique Continuum feature will be ready in time for the official Windows 10 release, despite remaining coy on when it will be available to preview.

"We're planning to release it with the general release of Windows 10. I don't actually know what date we'll have it in the [preview] build," Joe Belfiore, corporate VP of PCs, tablets and phones at Microsoft, told IT Pro during a Q&A session at TechEd Europe 2014.

"My guess is it'll be sometime towards the end of the calendar year/early next year. We're still working on it, we're trying to get kinks ironed out. It's not really quite ready yet, so a few more months."

What is Continuum?

Continuum will allow the Windows 10 interface to adapt based on the hardware it is running in and will be a key selling point for hybrid devices such as the Surface Pros.

When a device is used in tablet mode, the OS will run the Metro interface and switch to a standard desktop interface when the keyboard attachment is connected.

The firm will introduce the ability to snap windows to the edge of displays when using a multi-monitor setup, something which has not been possible on Windows 8.x devices.

"The snap mode now works across multiple devices, so for you power users with multiple screens and muscle memory [from Windows 7] we're going to make that work," he explained during his demo.

Belfiore also showed how users will be able to switch between apps and virtual desktops using trackpad gestures not dissimilar to those found on Mac devices.

Swiping vertically with three fingers will minimise all windows and bring up the desktop. Meanwhile, swiping horizontally with three fingers will allow users to switch between open applications.

Another interesting feature demonstrated was the ability to log into a Windows PC via two-factor authentication using a smartphone.

"Instead of typing a password into the PC, which then goes to Active Directory and is stored on the network, two-factor authentication is set up with my phone and a pin," he continued.

Phones will recognise PCs via Bluetooth and act as a virtual smart card. When a secure connection is established, users will be prompted to tap a pin into their handset to log in.

"It's convenient for the end-user, it's inexpensive for the IT manager, because you're not dealing with complex deployment and there is no password stored in the server that's susceptible to be stolen or copied," Belfiore added.

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