Microsoft is opening Windows 10 even further to third-party digital assistants. In the next update for Windows 10, scheduled for September, Microsoft will enable voice assistants such as Alexa from Amazon to activate on the lock screen. This change allows third-party assistants to activate by activating alarm signals when a PC is locked and someone shouts "Alexa" on the other side of the room.
It is a relatively small change, but it does show that Microsoft is willing to open up how it handles voice-digital assistants on Windows 10. Amazon also switched on its Alexa wake word on its Windows 10 app earlier this year. The new changes from Microsoft follow changes to Cortana in Windows 10 because it goes to a separate app in the Microsoft Store and away from the built-in search experience in the operating system. Microsoft and Amazon have also previously entered into a partnership to integrate Cortana and Alexa.
Microsoft has a new vision for Cortana and it involves conversations and interactions that are part of the software and services that the company offers to companies. This means that Cortana will now play a greater role in business software, but it will only be one of many digital assistants available in the future on Windows 10.
Microsoft plans to implement a number of these changes to the digital assistant in the code name 19H2 update, which is expected to arrive in September. Unlike earlier fall updates, it will be a lot smaller in size with fewer new features and changes. Microsoft is starting to test some of these changes to the digital assistant in a new Windows 10 build (18362.10005) released today to Windows Insider testers.