Cortana to power new smart speaker

Microsoft has teamed up with audio equipment maker Harman/Kardon to challenge Amazon’s and Google’s domination of the smart speaker market, writes Android Authority.

The new speaker, to come to the market sometime this year, will be powered by Microsoft’s Cortana, an AI assistant that works the same way as Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple’s Siri.

If you are familiar with Cortana on your PC, then you’ll know pretty much what to expect. Similarly to Alexa and Google Assistant, Cortana will spark to life when you use an activation phrase like ‘Hey Cortana’, after which you can follow up with a command.

There is considerable room for growth in the smart speaker market, as such devices are so much more than voice-activated audio players. In addition to playing your favorite tunes, podcasts or radio stations, they can of course answer queries and act as a smart home hub, allowing you to easily control other smart devices in your household with just your voice.

Observers are already speculating that Apple might soon decide to come up with its own Siri-powered speaker. In the meantime, Amazon is allowing other manufacturers to integrate Alexa in their products, from smart watches to cars (you can read about some of them here). From all the AI assistants on the market, Alexa is also the one that’s compatible with most smart devices at the moment.

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