You will very soon be able to use Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant with the Raspberry Pi 3 and make cool devices that can accept voice commands.
But for that, you'll need to upgrade the popular developer board, which can run Windows 10 IoT Core, to the Creators Update of the OS.
You'll be able to use Cortana on Raspberry Pi similar to the way it works on PCs. You'll be able to ask for weather, time, traffic, or stock prices.
Users will also able to build smart devices using Raspberry Pi 3 that will be able to accept Cortana's commands. But the devices will need to be based on Windows 10 IoT Core, not Linux-based OSes.
Customized commands can be programmed for devices and could be related to reminders, look-ups, mapping, events, news, dictionary, and other "skills."
Microsoft mentions one Cortana functionality called "chit chat," which could refer to chatbots.
That's a direct attack on Amazon's Alexa or Google Assistant voice assistant technologies, which are being programmed into more smart devices.
Many enthusiasts are developing smart devices but can't slip in personal assistant features. Microsoft is making that much easier with the Creators Update to Windows 10 IoT Core.
Microsoft is pursuing an aggressive smart home strategy via Cortana, and the addition of the personal assistant to Windows 10 IoT Core could be a big piece in the strategy.
Outside Raspberry Pi 3, Microsoft's Windows IoT Core also works with other boards and computers.
Creators Update adds support for Intel's Compute Sticks and also base support for Intel chips code-named Apollo Lake. The OS already supports boards like Intel's Joule and MinnowBoard.
But board enthusiasts will need to take some considerations into account if they want to use Cortana with the Windows 10 IoT Core developer boards. Cortana needs microphones and speakers, and the options there are limited. The Creators Update supports only Logitech's S150 USB speakers, and the microphone options include Microsoft LifeCam HD 3000, Sound Tech CM-1000USB Table Top Conference Meeting Microphone, and Blue Microphones Snowball iCE Condenser Microphone/Cardioid.
Other improvements with Creators Update include support for more Adafruit peripherals that are widely used to make smart devices.
Additionally, the OS adds supports for autodiscovery of smart devices in which you are logged in, which was considered an issue earlier. This change is likely due to the integration of IoTivity IoT protocols from Open Connectivity Foundation, which helps establish secure connections between IoT devices.
The OS adds supports for new ARM PCI bus interconnects. Many low-power smart devices with Windows IoT Core use ARM CPUs but don't use the PCI interconnect, which is used in PCs. This is a feature aimed more at high-powered developer boards that don't operate on battery.
You will need to flash Creators Update on the developer boards using the Windows 10 IoT Core Dashboard. You will need to provide special permission to activate Cortana, much like when setting up Windows 10 desktop on PCs.
Creators Update will roll out starting on Tuesday.