Microsoft Cortana Now Supports Skills From Third Parties

But Microsoft, that other Washington-based tech titan, has its own plans to conquer the burgeoning market for voice.

Earlier this week, Harman Kardon announced the Invoke, its Cortana-enabled Amazon Echo competitor. It has, however, been announced that Redmond will partner with Intel provide developers with a reference platform for Cortana-powered devices.

According to Trusted Reviews, the Invoke speaker is the first intelligent speaker to feature Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant. Microsoft had a dashboard mock-up on stage too, and from there Cortana appeared at the top of the touchscreen in the center stack.

"It's all powered by a Windows 10 device with 4GB of RAM and a built-in Arduino used for controlling the platform lights, Archer explains".

Usually, Cortana the personal assistant is just a disembodied voice.

Microsoft - like Amazon and Google - is looking to deploy Cortana in internet-connected smart speakers. You'll need to link a Domino's Pizza account to use it, but you can start ordering pizza through Microsoft's digital assistant. The SharePoint site, OneNote, and Planner data APIs are all generally available as of today, so they're ready for developers to use in a production environment.

"We can set consistency across the experience", says Ash.

The goal is to take Cortana from the mobile devices she original debuted on, to every device people interact with. That's where the deals with HP and Intel come in. This feature is not available on Google Home or Amazon Echo.

Ash agrees with the notion, saying that "some things are just better on a screen".

Rumor has it that Microsoft's will also try another approach to taking on the Echo - and that approach will look more like a PC. But the partnership of Microsoft and Harmon Kardon means that the Invoke speaker will not have these common problems. For instance, Spotify is building a Cortana Skill that will let users play music via Spotify on their Cortana-powered speaker.

However, going forward, developers will be able to port Cortana's existing skills or even develop new ones.

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