Amid transforming Cortana and making it complementary to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Microsoft has started testing a new Windows 10 build that will enable third-party digital assistants to voice activate on the lock screen. The new change, which is currently available through Windows 10 Insider Preview Build version 18362.10005, is supposedly set to expand Alexa on the latest Windows platform. The new Windows 10 build also includes a fix to reduce the inking latency on Windows 10 machines. The Redmond, Washington-based company is also testing a key-rolling or key rotation feature through the new Windows 10 Insider Preview Build.
Microsoft in a blog post highlighted that the newest Windows 10 preview, codenamed 19H2, enables third-party digital assistants to voice activate on the lock screen. The blog post notably doesn't specify which third-party digital assistants will work with the new change. However, considering the strong relationship between Amazon and Microsoft, Alexa should be the first one to get deeper integration into Windows 10.
Back in August 2017, Amazon and Microsoft announced their partnership to closely integrate Alexa and Cortana. Various Windows 10 PCs from companies such as Acer, HP, and Lenovo in January last year were launched with pre-installed Alexa voice assistant.
Similarly, a native Amazon Alexa app debuted on Microsoft Store last November. The app, which was initially available in markets such as the US, UK, and Germany brought a hands-free Alexa experience to Windows 10 PCs.
In late June, a Cortana beta app was also spotted on the Microsoft Store that hinted at the separation of the digital assistant from Windows 10. The change was well suggested by CEO Satya Nadella in January where he mentioned that the company would no longer attempt to compete with Alexa and Google Assistant using Cortana.
All that set the pitch for an extensive Alexa experience on Windows 10 that would debut through the fresh Windows build.
The new Windows 10 preview is also designed to improve the inking latency based on hardware and includes the key-rolling or key rotation feature to enable secure rolling of Recovery passwords and help prevent accidental recovery password disclosure that comes through manual BitLocker drive unlocking process. There are also five fixes to address issues related to Windows containers.
That being said, the latest blog post confirms that the changes provided within the Windows 10 preview are disabled by default, and these will be enabled for select Windows Insiders initially. This means the company will consider the feedback of the testers to bring fresh features for the masses.
Microsoft is expected to release Windows 10 19H2 build for the public in September. Until then, only some Windows Insiders will get the chance to experience the latest series of changes.