Satechi launches dedicated Cortana button

September 23, 2015 | 14:00

Tags: #bluetooth #cortana #halo #windows-10 #windows-mobile #windows-phone

Companies: #microsoft #satechi

US gadget accessories company Satechi has announced the must-have product for anyone who finds clicking on a toolbar icon tricky: a dedicated hardware button to launch Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant.

Like Siri and Google Now, Cortana - named for the glitchy, rampant AI character in Microsoft's Halo game series - is designed to make users' lives easier. Responding - theoretically, at least - to natural-language spoken-word commands, Cortana is baked into Microsoft's latest Windows 10 operating system. When active, Cortana can operate in two modes: a click-to-speak mode, in which the user can also manually type queries; and an always-listening mode, in which the user need merely mention Cortana's name into the permanently-active microphone to begin voice recognition.

For users concerned about privacy but who find the idea of interacting with Cortana using a mouse a little twen-cen, Satechi has the answer to a question nobody asked: a Bluetooth-connected hardware button which does nothing but activate Cortana in voice-recognition mode. 'The Cortana Button puts Cortana at your fingertips without the use of the “Hey Cortana” feature which actively listens to you environment and in turn drains battery' the company's bumph claims. 'With the Cortana BT button, you can access Cortana with a single press of a button, even if your device is out of reach. Attach the button to your keychain, steering wheel, or dashboard to safely and conveniently access your device when it's out of reach. Remotely and safely activate Cortana without reaching for your phone or draining your battery.'

Designed primarily for mobile devices, but theoretically compatible with any Windows 10 system with Bluetooth connectivity, the button uses Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy to eke a two-year operational lifespan from a user-replaceable CR2016 lithium battery. The company has launched the gadget in the US priced at $22.99, with international availability not yet announced. More information is available on the official website.
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