I’ve heard on a number of occasions that Microsoft collaborated with Intel—as it did with PC makers, partners, and customers—on the design of Windows 10. But this past week, the microprocessor giant outlined the key ways that it contributed to Microsoft’s latest OS. And its involvement was perhaps a bit extensive than many had realized.
“Great engineering takes precisely choreographed interactions between hardware and software. It also takes trusted partnerships,” Intel senior vice president and general manager Doug Fisher writes in the firm’s Software and Services blog. “The launch of Windows 10 represented both: new milestones in integrated technology capabilities and 21 years of an Intel-Microsoft partnership that has delivered 11 generations of Windows OS products optimized on 17 generations of Intel Architecture.”
On that note, Fisher highlights four key ways in which Intel contributed to Windows 10.
“Intel engaged early with Microsoft to help bring Cortana’s innovative and extensive capabilities to life,” Fisher explains. “Intel engineers optimized speech algorithms and voice activation, improved microphone implementations, reduced power consumption, and enhanced responsiveness. Much of this work applies to all Windows 10 systems in the ecosystem. In addition, we implemented optimizations to take advantage of specific Intel hardware features.”
That last bit is an interesting point: Much of Intel’s work on Cortana benefited the Windows 10 ecosystem broadly, meaning that devices on AMD (PC/tablet) or ARM (phone) were positively impacted as well. But the implication here is that those on Intel platforms will see better performance and functionality.
And it gets even better on PCs based on the new 6th Generation Intel Core processor family, Fisher says. On such hardware, Windows 10 offloads the keyword spotter algorithm—which listens for phrases like “Hey Cortana”—to a dual-core digital signal processor within the processor SoC, providing better energy efficiency. And these new Intel-based systems also support Cortana extensibility so that developers can integrate their apps with Cortana speech control (as Netflix did recently with its app).
Anyone interested in Windows Hello knows that the go-to device right now is Intel’s RealSense camera. So you won’t be surprised to discover that Intel was big part of Windows Hello.
“We analyzed the end-to-end system and devised performance optimizations to ensure that Windows Hello authenticates users on Intel platforms quickly,” he writes. “We also made sure that the system could operate across a wide range of lighting environments.” I can verify both of those claims. Check out Windows 10: Hands-On with Windows Hello Facial Recognition for my write-up.
WiGig is a technology for enabling “no wires” computing. What it really is, is an evolution of Wi-Fi called 802.11ad (where the current version is 802.11ac, which is sometimes called Gigabit Wi-Fi). But the big difference is that WiGig won’treplace previous Wi-Fi versions because of range issues. So it works alongside 802.11ac in the same chipset.
Here’s Intel’s take on this technology in Windows 10.
“Intel worked closely with Microsoft to integrate WiGig technology in Windows 10 and enable wireless docking as part of a key native user experience of the new OS. This experience is similar to how a smartphone pairs with Bluetooth; once in range, the phone automatically connects. This wireless docking works with a wide variety of displays and USB peripherals.”
I know what you’re thinking—mostly because I was thinking the same thing: How can Intel take any credit for Microsoft Edge, the new web browser in Windows ?
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