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Microsoft Working With Harman Kardon To Build Smart Speaker For Cortana

By Edge Ison , Dec 15, 2016 01:29 AM EST
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Microsoft has teamed up with audio tech giant Harman Kardon to develop a smart speaker that will give Google Home and Amazon Echo a run for their money.

The software company made the announcement at an event in San Francisco held last Dec. 13.

With Harman Kardon on board, be assured that the smart speaker will provide the best quality audio possible. Add Cortana to the mix and consumers will have a great time listening to her soothing voice as she spews out joke after witty joke.

Aside from Cortana's many amusing replies, she was also given a new Skills Kit. Cortana Skills will let third-party developers add more 'skills' to the digital assistant through the Microsoft Bot Framework. Amazon's Alexa currently has thousands of skills from developers within and outside of the company. Microsoft figures to follow suit with this new announcement. Among those already working with Microsoft to create skills for Cortana are Capital One, Expedia, Knowmail, and TalkLocal.

Aside from this bit of good news, Microsoft also announced in the same SF event that it is giving Cortana the ability to help its owner with his or her schedule.

The AI bot, Calendar.help, will allow Cortana to schedule meetings on the owner's behalf. The owner needs to sign up to link to Outlook.com, Google Calendar, or Office 365.

Cortana will send an email to attendees informing them of a meeting and will later follow them up if it receives no replies within 48 hours. Once the date of the meeting has been agreed upon, Cortana will send a virtual invitation to everyone with a sign off of "Warmly yours, Cortana. Scheduling Assistant of [owner's name]".

Thos who want the bot may wait a little while. The beta service requires an invitation. The waiting list is quite long and mostly favors people "who frequently schedule meetings with people outside their organization".

Microsoft recently announced that Cortana, its artificial intelligence, will be brought to the Windows IoT Core as part of the Windows 10 Creators Update.

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