Microsoft is reportedly planning to release a new webcam this spring. The software giant has previously offered a variety of webcams under its LifeCam brand, but Microsoft hasn’t updated these significantly for 10 years. Petri reports that a Surface event will take place this spring, and a new webcam will be on the agenda alongside Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop 4.
The webcam will reportedly include a privacy cover and support high dynamic range (HDR). While Microsoft uses 4K USB-C webcams on its Surface Hub 2 device, this new webcam is rumored to skip 4K support. It’s not clear what resolution will be supported, or whether it will support Windows Hello facial recognition.
Whether Microsoft choses to use the Surface branding on this new webcam also remains to be seen. Microsoft’s Windows and devices chief, Panos Panay, hinted all the way back in 2018 in an interview with The Verge that the company was looking at releasing Surface-branded webcams. “Look at the camera on Surface Hub 2, note it’s a USB-C-based camera, and the idea that we can bring a high fidelity camera to an experience, you can probably guess that’s going to happen,” hinted Panay at the time.
This isn’t the first time a new Microsoft webcam has been rumored. Thurrott reported that two new webcams would arrive in 2019, one for Windows and one for Xbox. Those webcams never launched, and consumers and businesses have been relying on webcams from Logitech, Razer, and others instead.
Webcams quickly became the gadget of 2020, as consumers flocked to buy the devices to work from home during the pandemic. Prices of webcams also shot up briefly early on in the pandemic, before supply caught up and demand settled towards the end of 2020.