More than a decade ago, Microsoft execs, led by Chairman Bill Gates, were touting a future where .Net coffee pots, bulletin boards, and refrigerator magnets would be part of homes where smart devices would communicate and interoperate. Microsoft hasn't given up on that dream.
The HomeOS is a "PC-like abstraction" for in-home devices, like lights, TVs, surveillance cameras, gaming consoles, routers, printers, PCs, mobile phones and more. These devices appear to the HomeOS user as peripherals connected to a single PC.
The white paper never explicitly says that HomeOS is derived from or based on Windows. (There are other operating system research projects and incubations at Microsoft, including Singularity and Midori, neither of which is Windows-based, so it's not a given that HomeOS is Windows-derived.) But it was built using C# and the .Net Framework 4.0, the new white paper on the technology explained.
Microsoft has been testing HomeOS in 12 real homes over the past four to eight months, according to the latest updates. And 42 students have built new applications and added additional devices to support it, as well.
The HomeStore is still part of the HomeOS environment. The idea of the HomeStore is to simplify the process of finding new applications, drivers and devices, much like smartphone app stores do today.
As is true with all Microsoft Research projects, there's no guarantee when and if HomeOS will be commercialized, or even be "adopted" by a Microsoft product group. The fact the Softies are sticking with this project and continuing to enhance it increases that likelihood, in my opinion however.