Back in December 2016, Microsoft announced the Cortana Skills Kit (CSK) and the Cortana Devices SDK. Both software packages are designed to help developers and device manufacturers easily incorporate the AI assistant into their products.
Now, according to Voicebot.ai, Microsoft has sent out a circulated email to prominent developers of Amazon's Alexa skills in order to recruit them as CSK launch partners. In the email, the company claims that “Cortana has 145 million monthly active users across Windows, Android, iOS and Xbox.”
That user base could grow even more when the Cortana Skills Kit becomes available, however, Microsoft hasn't announced a release date yet.
Cortana Skills Kit website still accepting signups
The CSK was supposed to receive a broader availability in February 2017. However, as we reported back on March 1, the official website of the software package is still accepting signups.
As mentioned before, the Cortana Skills Kit is a highly-anticipated software package designed for developers and device manufacturers. It will allow developers to use existing Alexa code as a basis for their Cortana skill.
Currently, more than 10.000 skills for Alexa are available, after Amazon opened up the platform to developers over a year ago.
According to Microsoft, the Cortana Skills Kit will allow developers to:
- “Leverage bots created with the Microsoft Bot Framework and publish them to Cortana as a new skill
- Integrate their web services as skills and re-purpose code from their existing Alexa skills to create Cortana skills
- Connect users to skills when users ask, and proactively present skills to users in the appropriate context
- Personalize their users' experiences by leveraging Cortana's understanding of users' preferences and context, based on user permissions.”
To signup for updates on the Cortana Devices SDK, click here.
Harman Kardon & Cortana
With the Amazon Echo, Amazon has already proven that smart speakers are the future. Microsoft is already partnering up with various manufacturers to bring Cortana 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”.