Qualcomm Smart Audio Platform now supports Microsoft Cortana making it easier to integrate

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At a CES where digital assistants took center stage, one that was auspiciously missing is the Microsoft Cortana digital assistant. Google Assistant had a large visible presence while, alongside Amazon Alexa, was announced for a number of devices including touchscreens, speakers, and more. Digital assistants are popping up everywhere these days, including the standard speakers but also in computers, appliances, projectors, televisions, and more.

Microsoft has been late to the game before (*cough* Windows Phone *cough*) and they’re somewhat late to the game with Cortana as well. That being said, Cortana is baked into the Windows 10 operating system and even the Xbox One interface, so you’d think the company would have a pretty big leg up when it comes to an install base. However, Cortana’s presence at CES was largely non-existent. Late last year, in collaboration with Harman Kardon, the company released the Harman Kardon Invoke — a Cortana powered smart speaker. While not perfect, Cortana has a long way to go in the available skills department, the Invoke is a well-built, fantastic sounding product with great potential. Just before CES, a Johnson Control thermostat powered by Cortana was also announced. To be honest, things were looking decent for a Cortana showing at CES.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case and Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa battled hard for the spotlight. However, there was one announcement that many may have missed during all the CES excitement. Qualcomm announced that their Smart Audio Platform now supports Microsoft Cortana.

“We are pleased to support the powerful capabilities of Microsoft Cortana Digital Assistant for smart speakers on our Smart Audio Platform,” said Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager, voice and music, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. “Demand for voice control and voice-enabled services in the home is rapidly gaining traction, and our audio platform is now designed to offer greater flexibility for manufacturers wanting to deliver highly differentiated user experiences taking advantage of the power and personalization capabilities of Cortana.”

The digital platform by Qualcomm helps device manufacturers to reduce the time and cost of implementing Cortana through hardware and software integration provided by the platform. Not many details were mentioned, but support for Cortana within the Qualcomm Smart Audio Platform is expected to be available in the first half of 2018. Given the push we saw at CES by Google and Amazon and the number of products coming soon supporting their digital assistants, it might just be too late for Cortana.

What do you think about the Qualcomm Smart Audio Platform now supporting Cortana? Do you think it will entice more companies to implement Cortana in their products or is, once again, Microsoft late to the game? Let us know in the comments below or on Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

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