We’ve heard a lot about Microsoft’s plan to compete with Amazon Echo and Google Home without ever having to create and sell a device. Apparently, the company is planning to transform every Windows 10 device into what is called a Home Hub, but what about those who are not interested in Windows 10?
That’s an easy question to answer. You see, Microsoft is planning to release the SDK for Cortana, which will then make it possible for third-parties to incorporate the technology into their devices. We could soon come across refrigerators with Cortana baked in and the ability to command the voice assistant to open the doors.
“The Cortana Devices SDK will allow OEMs and ODMs to create a new generation of smart, personal devices — on no screen or the big screen, in homes and on wheels,” says Microsoft in a recent blog post.
First Home Hub Product
A video of the new Harman Kardon speaker set to be launched in 2017 was recently released. We’re confident this thing will be shown in full at CES 2017, so keep an eye out. Now, the interesting thing about this speaker is the fact that it’s designed to go up against Amazon Echo and Google Home, and yes, Cortana is the brain of the operation here.
We don’t know much about the speaker outside of Cortana being at the helm and the name of the brand. From what we can tell of the design, it resembles the Amazon Echo, with the main difference being what appears to be a touchscreen at the top. Not surprising since recent reports claim Microsoft wants all Home Hub products to have a touchscreen for better Cortana integration.
Now, this is a Harman Kardon speaker, so chances are the price won’t be cheap and comparable to what Amazon and Google are offering. However, this shouldn’t be an issue because we expect other brands to release similar products with Cortana at the helm, so there is bound to be a Home Hub device for everyone.
We hope to learn a lot more about Cortana’s integrated features in 2017, along with the price of this speaker. Furthermore, we’d love to see what other third-party partners have in store for consumers and exactly how Home Hub will work.
If this plan goes accordingly, then both Google and Amazon will have reasons to worry unless they decide to allow third-party hardware makers to take advantage of their respective technologies. Microsoft is taking a similar route to how it handles VR. No need to invest in its own hardware when the software is already there for others to use.
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