Harman Kardon Invoke

Microsoft Working On A Cortana Speaker?

Something to go up against the Apple HomePod? Well, bring it on! Smart speakers seem all the rage these days, and a Cortana focused one simply makes a world of sense.

Microsoft seems to think so too.

Almost all the technology giants have launched their own products, including Amazon, Apple and Google, but Redmond has until now only relied solely on its partner ecosystem in this regard. Or rather, only one notable partner.

Harman Kardon.

The company launched the INVOKE speaker last year, powered by Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant.

And while the device was well received in terms of hardware, most reviewers felt that Cortana had a lot of catching up to do against other smart speakers. Which is understandable, considering it was her first real outing.

Anyway, getting back to the news at hand, it appears that Microsoft has had a change of heart.

The company is apparently now interested in building its very own speaker powered by Cortana and Windows 10 IoT, though the idea is still in its early days.

Word is that Microsoft is working with Quanta on this new project, and the device will be powered by the Snapdragon 212 processor — a chip originally designed for smartphones but then tweaked to support Internet of Things hardware as well.

If the project comes to fruition, the smart speaker will be part of the Surface device lineup, developed under the leadership of Panos Panay.

But don’t expect it before next year, though. A realistic estimate is the fall of 2019, since work on this project has really just started. But this certainly is an exciting development, and a path that many believe Microsoft should have taken way earlier.

The Windows 10 operating system is perfectly capable to power devices like these, so hopefully there is a lot of truth to this story.

Could be good.