MICROSOFT HAS GIVEN US our first look at the future of its voice assistant, Cortana. Because, apparently, it has one.
The new app for Windows 10 sees a shift in the way you interact with ol' Corty, with a move to a more dialogue or chat-based interface.
The standalone version of Cortana is the fruits of a conscious decision to reposition Cortana as a business tool, rather than an omnipotent Windows feature. As such, it is being removed from Xbox and has already been surgically removed from Windows Search.
It is, to some degree an admission that Cortana has failed. The company has already confirmed that it will allow third-party assistants (starting with Alexa) to take over from Cortana in Windows installations.
In its early days, Cortana was Microsoft's ace-in-the-hole, designed to be accessible from all Microsoft products from Xbox to Windows Mobile. But the meteoric rise of Alexa, and particularly the Amazon Echo (and latterly Google Home) showed that people didn't want to make their existing devices "smart", they wanted a new toy. Thus, Cortana has floundered relative to its rivals.
Cortana: The App, which can be used with voice or typed instructions has most of the features that were available in the embedded version, but there are a few missing bits which will be added over time. Performance is (sez Microsoft) significantly better than the older version, and…
(hang on, this clearly deserves a new paragraph)
…it has a dark mode! For some reason, the world seems to be judging apps on their dark mode at the moment, so we're pretty sure this is going to be a massive hit and there's no sarcasm there at all.
The new version is now available for Windows Insiders to download as part of Fast Ring preview 18945. We'll see it rolling out fully in Windows 10 20H1, due in Spring of 2020.
Again - DARK MODE! Hope you're as excited as we are. μ
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