Microsoft recently announced that there would be no more updates for Windows Insiders until 2017; it seems, though, Windows IoT Core is an exception.
Today, the Windows team released Build 14993 for Windows IoT Core Insiders, and it brings a very recently announced feature for the DIY-er inside us.
Cortana on a Raspberry Pi
At the WinHEC event, a few weeks ago, Microsoft announced that Cortana would be coming to Windows IoT Core with the upcoming Creators Update; Insiders, the lucky bunch that they are, now get to try this integration with Build 14993.
— Dan Ardelean (@danardelean) December 14, 2016
The addition of Cortana to Windows IoT Core is commendable – but there are a few caveats that must be mentioned; first, the integration requires a screen – if you are running Windows IoT Core on a Raspberry Pi, you will need to attach a display to it for Cortana to function.
Moreover, it’s not very optimized at the moment – as the video above shows, it’s slow and doesn’t quite work as well as it could. Clearly, the Windows team needs to work a bit more on this.
If you put these two issues aside, Cortana on Windows IoT Core is identical to Cortana elsewhere – all features work, and Cortana will respond to all the same commands.
Cortana Devices SDK
At the WinHEC event, Microsoft also announced the Cortana Devices SDK – you can read more about that in our original coverage; the SDK is for device manufacturers, allowing them to integrate Cortana and its feature into their hardware products.
For example, you could – at some point – talk to your refrigerator and ask it if there are any eggs in stock; Cortana will respond.
The future sounds weird, but science fiction has fantasized about this very future for generations – it will happen eventually, as every other science fiction fantasy does.
Here’s the important bit, though: unlike the Windows IoT Core implementation, Cortana Devices SDK will not require a screen. That’s quite handy, for device manufacturers.
In fact, Microsoft is working with Harman Kardon on a speaker powered by Cortana – much like Amazon Echo – though, from its reveal trailer, it appears that it does have a screen.
The Cortana future is exciting, and today’s IoT Core Insider update brings us one step closer to it; you can read more about the Insider update and the full changelog over here.