Toshiba's Windows 10 laptops will feature a dedicated Cortana button

The Cortana key will be on all of Toshiba's Windows 10 PCs—“across the board, top to bottom,” according to Jeff Barney, the general manager and vice president in charge of Toshiba America’s PC business. Toshiba's Windows 10 laptops will feature a dedicated Cortana button, for launching Microsoft's digital assistant from your keyboard.

The key will sit in the upper left area, near the function keys, he said. Triggering it will launch Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant.

But on both the phone and the PC, Cortana’s ability to “actively listen” has been problematic, with difficulty picking up and reacting to the use of the “Hey Cortana” phrase that triggers it. In practice,
it's been far more successful when manually triggered.

2014 active listening was added to Cortana, enabling it to be triggered with the phrase: “Hey Cortana,” even across the room and without the need to touch the phone. After the trigger phrase is spoken, Cortana can be controlled normally for tasks like setting a reminder, asking a question, or launching an app. 

 If a user wants to use the Cortana feature on Windows 10, he or she has either had to tap the Cortana icon on the screen or move the mouse to trigger the service. Placing a dedicated Cortana button on the keyboard is a smart idea, especially if the service proves to be a hit.  Frankly, I’d be willing to bet that Microsoft also releases a mouse that does the same thing. (Logitech, a rival peripherals maker, declined to comment.)

The idea behind the dedicated Cortana button, Barney said, is to make sure that “Cortana is listening when you want it to.” The company has added high-fidelity array mics to its PCs to improve Cortana’s ability to understand what you say.

One small click for Toshiba, one giant leap for the keyboard

A dedicated Cortana key would be one of the more significant changes to the keyboard since the Windows key was added at about the time Windows 95 was introduced, in 1995. Although Microsoft added touch support for Windows 8, most external monitors still don’t support it, leaving the mouse and keyboard still as the most popular ways of interacting with your PC.

Voice commands could help change that. Even with a keyboard dock, a dedicated hardware Cortana button would be within easy reach of a PC user’s hands. 

(IDG News Service reporter Blair Hanley Frank also notes that the Windows key + C combination also launches Cortana.)

I tried it personally and it launch Cortana  :)

As Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research points out, Toshiba is a niche PC vendor—fifth in the United States, with a 6.5 percent share, according to IDC—that could use an idea like this to distinguish itself from the competition. And the company may do just that: So far, no other PC vendor, including Hewlett-Packard and Dell, have publicly indicated that they, too, plan to use a hardware-based Cortana button.

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About Jaime Lacson

A Freelance Computer Tech with knowledge about computer, router and mobile phones, especially in Upgrade and Downgrade OS, Software and Hardware troubleshooting. follow me at Google+
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