Microsoft Cortana virtual assistant

Toshiba introduces a dedicated Cortana key on its keyboard

Toshiba will reportedly have a dedicated Cortana key on the keyboards of its new series of laptops. The news was confirmed by Jeff Barney, the general manager and vice president in charge of Toshiba America’s PC business.

Microsoft Cortana is an intelligent personal assistant and knowledge navigator that first appeared on Windows Phone 8.1. The technology will be added to the Windows 10 operating system, which is scheduled for official release on July 29.

The introduction of a new dedicated Cortana key is seen as the company’s strategy to make its products unique and attract customers. Another reason that might have motivated the company is that Cortana is expected to attract a lot of attention when Windows 10 is launched in July 2015.

Toshiba is betting high on this feature and has updated its laptop keyboards to include a dedicated Cortana key.

Why is a Dedicated Key a Good Idea?

The Cortana key will be located in the upper left area, near the function keys, and pressing the key will launch Cortana. Yet, there have been reports of voice activation problems with Cortana, as the virtual assistant was unable to pick up and react to the phrase “Hey Cortana” which should trigger it.

The idea behind a dedicated key is to successfully trigger Cortana manually. It will ensure Cortana is listening when you need her help. Toshiba has also added high-fidelity array mics to improve Cortana’s ability to hear what you say.

Toshiba’s Features

Other than the Cortana key, here is a list of other features you can expect depending on your choice:

The Satellite C Series

This is Toshiba’s entry-level notebook that comes with Intel and AMD processors, 15- and 17-inch screen size options, 8GB RAM and up to a 1TB storage. It will cost you $395, but you will pay more if you want the touchscreen option.

The Satellite L Series

This is an Intel only series and the features you will get will depend on how much money you are willing to spend. It gives you the option of going for NVIDIA graphics, dual HDD-plus-SSD setup or a 2TB hard drive, 16GB RAM and more. It will cost you $875 for the 17-inch screen model and $720 for the 15-inch screen model.

The Fusion Series

This only comes with a 15-inch screen with higher-end specifications, such as an Intel Core i5 or i7 processor, 12GB RAM, Skullcandy audio and a backlit keyboard, and gives you the option to choose between HDD or SSD. Prices start at $650.

The Radius Series

This is a lot like the Fusion series, but it’s exclusive to Best Buy. Earlier it had an 11-inch screen size, but it now comes with both 14- and 15-inch screens. The 15-inch version only comes with Intel in comparison to the 14-inch one which can be configured with either AMD or Intel. If you plan to go for the 15-inch model, it will cost you $843, while the 14-inch one will cost you $545.

All these new laptops are expected to be available in stores from 21 June with Windows 8.1 and users will be eligible for a free upgrade when Windows 10 is released in July.

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