Leaked slides reveal that Intel's upcoming 14nm Broadwell processors will feature an integrated audio DSP with Smart Sound Technology. While AMD's TrueAudio technology in the new Radeon cards focuses on improving positional audio and surround-sound virtualization for games, Intel's goal is to lower power consumption and to improve speech recognition. The Smart Sound DSP will reportedly take care of real-time mixing, decoding, and post processing.
Interestingly, the DSP will be able to play audio even when the system is in Windows 8's low-power Connected Standby mode. That capability already exists in some Atom processors, which may have an early version of the DSP destined for Broadwell. The datasheet for the Clover Trail-based Atom Z2760 (PDF) mentions a 24-bit audio processor associated with an earlier version of Smart Sound Technology. That datasheet's SoC diagram shows an audio DSP, too.
We haven't heard anything about speech recognition related to the Atom's Smart Sound implementation. However, the Broadwell DSP's Connected Standby functionality extends to recording, allowing it to listen for voice commands while the system is sleeping. This capability will hook into "Genie" personal assistant software that will respond to the user's commands. The recognition engine is apparently accurate enough to identify different voices, but it's not robust enough to be used as a password replacement.