UPDATE: Following the currently heated trend of smart speakers, Microsoft has also extended the capabilities of Cortana, its voice assistant to devices outside those powered by Windows 10. It showed off the first set of its Cortana-powered harwdare devices at the Computex trade show and we thought we had been struck with a disappointment in the form of HP’s speaker — which, as shown off, couldn’t operate independently.
But, a Microsoft spokesperson has today clarified to The Tech Portal that the HP speaker will be powered by Cortana, that has been baked right into the speaker. This means the intelligent speaker will be standalone, instead of what Microsoft’s presentation of the same, may have suggested (or may have been interpreted) on stage during the keynote. Their statement reads as under:
The new HP speaker is a standalone device featuring the intelligence of Cortana, the personal digital assistant by Microsoft. The HP speaker has Cortana intelligence built in and does not need to connect to a Windows 10 PC. We’re excited about our partnership with HP and have nothing else to share at this time.
PREVIOUSLY: After gathering interest from the technology community thrice already this month, Microsoft is once again back to pull us back in with its latest announcements from the Computex trade show. Taking center stage at the press event, the Redmond giant took the wraps off its Cortana-powered speaker lineup.
While we had already been acquainted with Harman Kardon’s intelligent speaker at Build 2017 earlier this month, Microsoft then mentioned that other hardware partners such as HP and Intel will also build Cortana-powered smart speakers. The concept of the new speakers have been under wraps until date but Microsoft has today unveiled what HP’s speaker will actually look like.
Though the audience (as well as the live stream audience) were not given a glimpse of the hardware itself, but several renders of the speaker were displayed on stage during the keynote address. HP’s Cortana speaker resembles a massive hockey puck which has been stretched out from the top half. It includes the logo and buttons on top of the device while the signature ‘blue’ hue is emitted by the circular band around the bottom of the speaker.
The ‘visual representation’ on the device on the massive high-mounted screen revealed an important aspect of HP’s smart speaker and that may disappoint several of you who were waiting for a cheap and affordable Cortana speaker. We all expect these speakers to work independently without the need for any additional hardware but HP is taking an unexpected route. You will need to attach the HP speaker to any Windows 10 PC to make the same work.
This means HP’s Cortana speaker will not be a standalone device, but will instead act as companion hardware to the existing range of Windows 10 PCs. It may not host all features supported by standalone Cortana speakers and be limited to the functionality that’s provided by the uber-smart assistant on your PC. We will have to wait for an official launch to better understand the working of this smart speaker. There is also no official word on the availability and pricing of the same.
Img Credits: MSPowerUser