Project Evo Ups the PC Game

Microsoft and Intel on Wednesday announced Project Evo, their highly anticipated collaboration to create the next generation of personal computers. The project aims to expand on new advances in artificial intelligence, mixed reality, advanced security and gaming,

Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft, unveiled some of Project Evo’s ambitious plans at the Windows Hardware Engineering Community (WinHEC) event in Shenzhen, China.

Through the collaboration, the companies will push the boundaries of a personal computer’s capabilities in the near future, he said. Technologies under development include far-field speech and wake-on-voice enabled through Cortana, biometrics and voice authentication in Windows Hello, spacial audio, and HDR support for gaming.

Project Evo — particularly its expanded use of Cortana — invites comparisons to the digital assistant tools found in Amazon Echo and Google Home, standalone speakers that use Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant respectively. Though their capabilities differ, each uses voice communications to interact with the automated home.

However, Project Evo seems geared toward making the personal computer into a much more sophisticated device — one that can be accessed and operated in ways never before seen.

 

Home Hub Connection?

Essentially, users will be able to wake up a PC, whether it’s open or shut, simply by saying “Hello Cortana.” Through voice commands, users will be able to access the information they need either directly from their personal computing device or from the cloud.

“This is going to make the PC way more intuitive than it is today,” Intel SVP Navin Shenoy, general manager of the Client Computing Group, told WinHEC attendees. “You no longer need to be directly in front of your PC to activate Cortana.”

“There are certainly aspects of Project Evo that are likely to compete directly with Amazon Alexa and Google Home,” noted Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT.

However, it’s likely that “Intel and Microsoft are after a fundamentally bigger game,” he told TechNewsWorld.

In the case of Project Evo, the companies are working with much more powerful computing capabilities than Amazon and Google are using with their home hubs.

“Microsoft has the technology in the cloud, not the home,” noted Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research.

“The problem is that the PC is not the center of the home or the consumer experience,” he told TechNewsWorld.

While there is room for improving the PC experience, this project is not going to push Microsoft into a direct competition with Amazon, McGregor said.