There’s no question that Amazon is currently leading the digital home assistant race with the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot. Google recently added Google Home into the mix, and now Microsoft is looking to bring Cortana into your home in partnership with Harman Kardon.
For those of you unfamiliar with Cortana, “she” is the name of Microsoft’s digital assistant which is installed on Windows 10 machines and available for various mobile devices. The announcement comes from the Windows App Team who announced both the Cortana Skills Kit and Cortana Devices SDK. Designed to help developers, the Cortana Skills Kit will assist with leveraging artificial intelligence across Windows, Android, iOS, Xbox, and other Cortana-powered devices. The Skills Kit will even allow developers to reuse their existing Alexa code in their development for Cortana-enabled devices.
The Cortana Devices SDK makes Cortana available to all OEMs and ODMs, and the first partner officially announced by Microsoft is Harman Kardon. A division of Harman Industries, Harman Kardon is considered one of the premium brands of the Harman group of companies which also include JBL and AKG, among others. While it’s interesting that Microsoft is partnering with a well-known audio company, it does make sense and once the product is released next year it will be very interesting to see the sound quality difference between this new device and Amazon or Google’s devices which were developed in-house.
One big advantage that Microsoft will have with a Cortana digital home assistant device is the fact that Cortana is already available on Windows, iOS, Android, and Xbox devices whereas Alexa is currently tied to Echo devices and some standalone apps — although more Alexa devices are coming in the new year — and “OK Google” works best with the Android ecosystem but also works on iOS. As mentioned above, the Harman Kardon + Cortana digital home assistant isn’t due out until some time next year, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted as we find out more.
What do you think about Microsoft teaming up with Harman Kardon to bring Cortana into your home next year? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.Source: Windows Blog