Next Big Thing – Microsoft HomeOS

Microsoft Research has taken over some futuristic test houses with apps for everything from your lights to your doorbell

I can buy a Microsoft house?

Stop flashing your cash – HomeOS, Microsoft's "operating system for the home," is still firmly in the testing phase. But we're still jumping up and down in anticipation of the day we can set our Xbox 360 to load up Mass Effect 3 the second we walk in the door.

Will I need one of those WinPho things?

It doesn't look like Microsoft Research has rewired Windows to talk to your light switches – but we wouldn't be surprised if HomeOS was built on top of a Windows kernel. And you won't be locked down to one ecosystem – the plan is to support all the gadgets you already own.

How will I survey my empire?

From the video below, it looks like you'll be able to access apps like Remote View on your smartphone – so that if you get a notification from your doorbell you can check in-house cameras to check it's not a burglar coming to call. And everything from your printer to your air conditioning will talk to one PC hub.

Sounds paranoid.

Got better things to do than stalk your own house? It's not all about monitoring. You can also start up a whole room – lights, TV, everything – with one click, and add extra security with face recognition via apps from what Microsoft is calling the HomeStore. We still don't know when we'll be able to place our online order for motion detectors and whatnot – but Microsoft Research has been working on this since 2010, so we'd quite like some dates and prices before the year is out.

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