The latest announcement is another step forward in Microsoft’s vision to have Cortana as an all-present interface. The company sees its personal digital assistant as an extension of the user.
The Cortana Skills Kit is intended for developers to help them seamlessly integrate Cortana skills on multiple platforms. These include Windows, Android, iOS and Xbox, as well as new Cortana-powered devices.
As Microsoft states, developers can also “leverage bots created with the Microsoft Bot Framework and publish them to Cortana as a new skill, to integrate their web services as skills and to repurpose code from their existing Alexa skills to create Cortana skills.”
In order to incorporate Cortana on a number of different devices, Microsoft presents Cortana Devices SDK for device manufacturers. This makes the AI assistant available to all OEMs and ODMs for building smarter devices on all platforms.
Thanks to its design, the Cortana Devices SDK supports cross platforms such as Windows IoT, Linux, and Android. As such, the package offers effortless delivery of real-time, two-way audio communication with Cortana.
Early device partners
Microsoft is partnering with various manufacturers to bring its personal assistant to different devices and services. The company calls them “early device partners”, citing Harman Kardon as an example.
The manufacturer of premium audio devices made a Cortana-based speaker, reminiscent of Amazon Echo. Microsoft presented the new device in a short teaser video with very little information, apart from saying the device is “coming in 2017”.
Both software packages are currently in private preview. The Cortana Skill Kit will receive a broader availability in February 2017, while there is no specified date for the Cortana Devices SDK.
Developers can sign up here to get updates regarding the Cortana Skills Kit. Furthermore, device manufacturers can use this form to receive news about the Cortana Devices SDK and possible access to an early preview.