Though it has a big portion of the PC market, Microsoft’s digital assistant still doesn’t have the reach of Google and Alexa. That’s partly due to reliance on a dying mobile operating system, but also because it was far too late to the smart speaker game.
Fortunately, rumors suggest it’s now working on its own speaker. According to WinFuture, the company is collaborating with Quatna to make a Microsoft-branded speaker. The information comes from ‘evidence in documents from a developer team’.
It will apparently be powered by a Snapdragon 212 variant, based on the ARM Cortex-A7 architecture with four 1.3 GHz cores. We can only assume such a speaker would be Cortana-based, but also able to invoke Alexa via the upcoming integration.
Too Little, Too Late?
WinFuture says this design is in the early stages, and we can’t verify its sources. Even then, it’s not unreasonable for Quanta to create an early design, only for the project to be axed. Basically, take this report with a grain of salt unless further information comes to light.
That said, the idea does raise an important question: is it too late for Microsoft to enter that market? Former AI head Qi Lu seemed to think so. Last year, he revealed how the company shrugged off the threat of Amazon, but failed to predict the role of smart speakers.
Amazon had a first-party speaker and significant service support very early on. All of a sudden, it was far ahead of Microsoft, despite being less advanced in AI. However, with the incoming Cortana-Alexa integration, it’s possible that could change.
If Microsoft were to release a smart-speaker now, it would have the advantage of Cortana’s productivity integrations and Amazon’s third-party services. For the right price, it could be just enough to tip professionals, if they aren’t on another platform already.