cortana

Hey Cortana, are you looking to rival Amazon Echo and Google Home? Well, if you ask Microsoft, then the answer will be a big fat – YES! The Redmond giant has today announced that Harman Kardon’s upcoming smart speaker will be powered by their uber-cool virtual assistant Cortana.

The information related to the speaker’s specifications, name and release date is currently very sparse. Microsoft has instead dropped a teaser video showing off the sleek Echo-inspired speaker, which is powered by Cortana and is being asked to play music and create a reminder. This promo video has been titled ‘Harman Kardon + Cortana: Premium audio meets your personal assistant,’ so as not to give away any details away to the users except the most evident one.

This integration has been made possible with the recent release of the Cortana Devices SDK, which we reported just yesterday. Remember we said that Microsoft’s virtual assistant could soon power your refrigerators, toasters and coffee machines. Building a smart speaker to compete with your arch-enemies seem like a more plausible application of the technology.

This new SDK released by Redmond makes Cortana available to all OEMs and ODMs to build smarter devices on all platforms, including Windows 10, Xbox, iOS, Android and other mobile platforms. Talking about the same, Redmond in its blog post states:

It will carry Cortana’s promise in personal productivity everywhere and deliver real-time, two-way audio communications with Skype, Email, calendar and list integration – all helping Cortana make life easier, everywhere. And, of course, it will carry Cortana expert skills across devices.

Also for those unaware, Samsung has recently picked up the parent company, Harman, behind this widely popular audio brand for a whopping $8 billion to accelerate the development of its auto infotainment accessories. But what’s surprising is the fact that Samsung is opting to bake in a competitor’s virtual smarts into their smart speaker, when they have recently acquired a powerful next-gen AI-powered virtual assistant Viv of their own.

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