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article imageMicrosoft and Intel create a smarter Cortana and enhanced PCs

By James Walker     Dec 8, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft has announced a partnership with Intel that will see the two companies collaborate to improve digital assistants, security, AI and mixed reality on Windows 10 PCs. Project Evo will create more capable future devices with enhanced functionality.
Microsoft unveiled its plans at its WinHEC 2016 keynote in Shenzhen, China, this morning. The company is partnering with Intel to make Project Evo a reality, aiming to "marry the best innovation across hardware, software and services" to create more powerful devices and next-generation customer experiences.
Evo will lead to new developments in artificial intelligence, security, mixed reality and gaming on Windows 10 devices. The result of the joint effort will be delivered to the hundreds of millions of existing Windows users, as well as owners of mixed reality headsets.
Technology that is being built through Evo includes far-field speech communications systems that will make Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant more robust. Far-field recognition means you'll be able to ask a question or say a command from across the room, giving Cortana extra versatility and a more human appearance.
Devices such as Amazon's Echo and Google's Home already offer this functionality. It can make it easier to interact with the digital assistant when you're not directly working at your PC. Microsoft's far-field speech tech will be a key component of its rumoured "Home Hub" Echo rival, enabling a PC to be the focal point of your home.
Evo will also widen the scope of mixed reality headsets. Microsoft wants to make headsets accessible to mainstream audiences by reducing prices and system requirements. When Windows Holographic launches as a Windows 10 component next year, Windows users will be able to purchase relatively cheap headsets and use them with most recent PCs. Microsoft said that "more than 20,000" apps in the Windows Store already support mixed reality headsets.
Microsoft and Intel are also working together to bolster Windows 10's security and develop new biometric authentication methods with Windows Hello. Microsoft previously partnered with Intel to create Windows Hello's facial recognition systems. It is now relying on the company's "world-class security intelligence" and analytics to drive further developments in security.
"With Project Evo, Microsoft and Intel will deliver all-new ways for devices to light up with the latest in advanced security, artificial intelligence and Cortana, mixed reality, and gaming," said Microsoft. "Together, our work will extend these experiences to hundreds of millions of PC and HMD customers and raise the bar for what's possible with Windows PCs."
Project Evo is still in development and it'll be a while before features begin to be delivered to consumers. The first enhancements will arrive in early 2017 with the Windows 10 Creators Update. Microsoft has previously signalled it's making a long-term commitment to mixed reality and AI so more innovations could be added in the future.
More about Microsoft, Intel, project evo, Windows, windows 10
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