“Cortana, wake up.” Seriously, that’s it. Say those words to a snoozing Windows 10 computer with a sixth-generation Intel Core processor, and it’ll wake right up from sleep. That’s because the new Intel Skylake processors will always be listening for that command, thanks to a low-power digital signal processor (DSP) built right into the chip. Once the computer wakes up, Cortana takes over and you can use all the standard voice commands, including telling the digital assistant to play music or video.
The company announced the new feature at its Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco last week. A similar option also appeared on Microsoft’s Xbox One and Motorola’s Moto X smartphone, but as with those devices, after the novelty wears off, you might find it easier to simply turn on your machine in the normal way instead of yelling at it from across the room.
Intel didn’t mention how much power the always-listening mode will drain or how much it will affect the standby power, nor whether users would need any extra hardware in order to boss their computer around with words. Although Intel said voice activation was technically possible with last year’s Core M chips, it’s only now with Windows 10 and its Cortana integration that PCs can take advantage of the feature.