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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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Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home