With Cortana refocusing to an enterprise software assistant, Microsoft is further opening the door to third parties. Most notably, a 19H2 slow ring build lets third parties run digital assistants from the lock screen.
The move comes after the company teamed with Amazon to allow Alexa access via Cortana. Amazon also enabled a wake word on its Windows 10 app in recent times, but that only functions if the PC is unlocked and the app is running.
The new update will essentially enable the use of a PC, laptop, or tablet from across the room. A stationary or docked laptop could work as an Echo Dot replacement, though consistency is likely to depend heavily on the microphone attached.
Lockscreen invoke is currently present in the Insider Slow Ring via Windows 10 19H2 build 18362.10005. However, it’s up to companies like Amazon and Google to actually make use of the functionality, with Google yet to release a store app. Generally, the functionality of the update is currently switched off and will be enabled via a controlled rollout at a later date.
Even so, with Windows 10 19H2 being a very understated update, this could be one of its major feature additions. For Alexa users, its another notch in their ecosystem, with the other changes being primarily performance and enterprise improvements.
As well as lock-screen wake, the latest build contains methods to help OEMs reduce inking capabilities on their hardware. It also allows for secure enterprise key rotation via Azure Active Directory and fixes some Windows container behavior.