While Amazon made the Echo for its Alexa, and Google made Home for its Assistant, Microsoft hasn’t made in efforts to bring Cortana into the physical realm with a device – and it looks like it doesn’t plan to do that either.
Microsoft today announced the Cortana Devices SDK – the SDK will allow any OEM or ODM to integrate Cortana into their products. The release of Devices SDK comes just a day after Microsoft revealed the plans to bring Cortana to everything – from thermostats to refrigerators – at the WinHEC 2016 event.
DIY with Creators Update
A long time ago, when Cortana processed her first byte of data, she was only available on Windows Phone devices; it took a while, but Cortana eventually showed up on Windows 10 devices – from PCs to Xbox. The upcoming Creators Update is bringing Cortana to Windows 10 IoT Core devices with displays – if’s running Windows 10 IoT Core and has a display, it will be able to run Cortana.
Bringing Cortana to Windows 10 IoT Core is not something for the big scary corporation – it’s for the people. DIY-ers can essentially put Cortana in everything and anything they could imagine, with this one flip of a switch.
Cortana Devices SDK
Of course, bringing Cortana to DIY-ers isn’t enough, and Microsoft gets that; today, Microsoft launched the Cortana Devices SDK that will allow any manufacturer to integrate Cortana into their products.
The device could be a thermostat or a fridge, or a toaster, perhaps a car or even a TV, Cortana can be in it – without even a display – making it smarter.
Microsoft is, in fact, working with partners to make this thing a reality: Harman Kardon will release a speaker with Cortana integrated within sometime in early 2017.
The Echo Competitor
Microsoft isn’t making a hardware product that could compete with Echo – it doesn’t need to. In the 80s and 90s when Apple was busy designing and building its own computers, Microsoft simply wrote the software and sold it to OEMs – it made the company the biggest IT company in the world, and its founder the richest man in the world.
Google mimicked the same strategy with Android, and it has been very successful with it; the point is – Microsoft wants Cortana to run your smart home and be your assistant, and to do that it needs to be everywhere.
Those who don’t want to buy a 3rd-party device with Cortana can just get a Raspberry Pi and DIY their way into the ecosystem.
Cortana needs to be ubiquitous, and for that, it needs to be open.
This is the best part – Microsoft already has reached every home; Windows is in every home, and as more people upgrade to Windows 10, they also install Cortana on their PC’s.
Microsoft’s collaboration with Intel on Project Evo will help Microsoft turn every modern Windows 10 PC into a smart device – Cortana will be present, wherever you go.
Microsoft has something incredible in the works; time will tell if Microsoft can take the right steps and dominate the AI market – it certainly has the resources to achieve that goal.