CES 2018: Qualcomm's Smart Audio Platform Now Supports Cortana

By Tom Pritchard on at

Microsoft's Cortana might have beaten Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant to the market, but she's not really kicked off in the same way. Probably because she's not been as widely available, unlike the latter two which have their own smart speakers and are getting installed on new smart gadgets everyday. That might change, though, and it's all thanks to Qualcomm.

The company has just announced that its Smart Audio Platform supports Microsoft's virtual assistant, making it a lot easier for anyone making a smart speaker to build devices that have her built in. You instead of Alexa and Google Assistant, which have become a darn sight more popular over the past year or so.

Cortana is only on a handful of gadgets, including Harmon Kardon's Invoke Speakers and the newly-announced and crazily-priced Cortana thermostat, while Alexa and Google seem to have been popping up all over the place. Heck Amazon just announced an Alexa app for Windows 10, usurping Cortana's status as the platform's dominant virtual assistant. Some companies, like Acer, ASUS, and HP will even have Alexa built right into some of their laptops.

So really this is good news for Cortana, who had risked being left behind and neglected into obscurity - much like Windows Phone was by big app developers. With the recent news that Groove Music's closure had removed Cortana's song recognition feature, she really needed a win. Hopefully this will be it.

Cortana might be a tough sell, particularly since Alexa and Google have a good head start and the advantage of developer support. But you never know what the future might bring. We know Cortana and Alexa are going to be working together at some point in the future (despite the delays), which might be enough to get the ball rolling. Once she starts being a more valuable platform, developers and hardware manufacturers should hopefully come along for the ride.

Hopefully Microsoft doesn't do anything to ruin this extra life line. [Engadget]

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