With Windows 8.1 pretty much left for dead, emphasis and interest is now on Windows 9, and it looks like we may finally get our own J.A.R.V.I.S.
Neowin, which is generally pretty good on Windows stories, reports that Microsoft has bumped up the Cortana audio assistant from engineering builds to "a more stable release cycle."
As Neowin put it, this means Cortana is no longer in the state of "let us see if this works," and is in more of a "let us push this forward and see if we can ship it" stage. This could mean Cortana is looking more and more likely as a part of Windows 9 when it ships, although it could still be cut. The last thing Microsoft wants is another embarrassment.
Cortana is Microsoft's answer to Apple's Siri for its smartphone, but the company claims much more comprehensive and complex interaction. Microsoft has been running a pretty effective advertisement showing how much more interactive Cortana is than Siri. One user on WPCentral.com, the go-to place for all things Windows Phone-related, posted their extensive tests, and it looks like Cortana can deliver the goods.
Neowin says Cortana is an app on your system that looks similar to the Windows Phone version that takes up roughly 25% of your display. They better work on that because I'm not sacrificing a quarter of my monitor for one feature. Cortana is expected to be integrated into the OS as it is on Windows Phone.
Microsoft is going full bore with Cortana, telling Engadget it expects to update Cortana at least twice per month or more if something urgent comes out. So by the time Windows 9 ships – around the second quarter of 2015 – Cortana will have been significantly upgraded as well.
Voice command of a PC is something long overdue and more important than touch. Granted, there will be challenges, like using it in a busy or noisy place, or maybe where you want privacy. However, it's far more important than touchscreen support. Now you don't need to smudge your computer screen, just say "Computer, compose a new email," or "Computer, load the browser."
Neowin also said Threshold builds are becoming more stable as well, although it's still not ready for a preview release. However, given that the current rumors say a Threshold preview won't come until around November, Microsoft has a few months to make things solid.