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article imageSamsung phones will soon unlock your Windows PC for you

By James Walker     Feb 22, 2017 in Technology
Samsung is preparing an update to its Samsung Flow app that will let you unlock your Windows computer using the fingerprint scanner on your phone. The long-awaited functionality considerably expands the app's usefulness, opening it to millions of people.
Samsung Flow's PC unlock functionality was introduced as a companion feature for the company's Windows 10-powered Galaxy TabPro S tablet last year. It allows owners of select Samsung smartphones to unlock their TabPro S using their phone's fingerprint reader, making login more secure and quicker to complete.
There's a lot more people using Samsung phones than there are the TabPro S though. With just one desktop device supported, the Flow app isn't particularly useful to most people. That will soon change, if a comment by Samsung on the Google Play Store is genuine. As spotted by SamMobile, a Samsung support representative told a customer that Flow will support all Windows 10 PCs once the Windows 10 Creators Update launches this spring.
"Sorry for your inconvenience," the message reads. "Samsung Flow is compatible with TabPro S now. But it will support all Windows 10 PCs from Windows 10 next major update (estimated early of April.)"
It isn't clear what change in Windows has enabled Samsung to expand Flow's device unlock to every computer. The company's technology is based on Microsoft's Windows Hello Companion Device Framework which lets third-party products integrate with Windows' security systems. It's also used by smartwatches and ID cards to let you login to your PC using specialised mechanisms.
Samsung Flow integrates with the Companion Device Framework to detect unlock attempts on your phone. When you need to login to Windows, you're prompted to scan your fingerprint on your compatible Galaxy device. For the system to work, the Flow app has to be installed on your PC and Bluetooth turned on. On the phone, both Bluetooth and NFC are required.
Microsoft has previously discussed launching its own system to let you unlock Windows with your phone. Remote unlocks were billed as one of the key features of its new Microsoft Authenticator app, available on iOS, Android and Windows 10 Mobile. The functionality still isn't available though, making Samsung's solution more useful than it could otherwise be. It's likely Microsoft will finally implement native Bluetooth unlocking in the future, letting you sign-in by tapping a prompt on your phone.
As well as letting you unlock your PC with your fingerprint, Samsung Flow makes it much easier to manage your phone from your computer. You can transfer media and active content between either device and mirror mobile notifications to your PC. Microsoft does offer a built-in solution for the latter functionality but it requires the Cortana Android app to be installed first.
With the Windows 10 Creators Update now expected to arrive in less than two months' time, Samsung Galaxy owners don't have to wait much longer to wait to utilise Flow's remote unlocking feature. It's thought Samsung may detail the revised app at its upcoming Mobile World Congress announcement in Barcelona this month.
More about Samsung, samsung galaxy, Smartphones, Mobile, Cybersecurity