Following the lead of Amazon and Google, Microsoft is getting in on the connected AI speaker action with its own Cortana-powered devices.
First there was Harman Kardon with the Invoke, and now HP has announced it's also looking at Cortana devices. Although HP's first device hasn't been fully unveiled, Microsoft showed off an HP speaker at Computex. A Microsoft spokesperson told Pocket-lint the HP speaker is a standalone device featuring the intelligence of Cortana, Microsoft's version of an assistant, similar to Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa.
More specifically, we're told the HP speaker has Cortana intelligence built-in and does not need to connect to a Windows 10 PC. But reports have claimed the assistant can connect to your Windows 10 PC, while "artist renders" suggested the device will look like Amazon's Echo Dot. It definitely does not need to be connected to a Windows 10 PC to work, though, and in terms of design, nothing has been confirmed.
When we asked for more information, a spokesperson for Microsoft said the company is excited about this partnership with HP but that it has "nothing else to share at this time". It looks as though HP's approach is to give you separate accessory just for Cortana interaction. Microsoft's plan is to march into all areas with Cortana, much as Amazon is doing with Alexa and Google with Assistant.
It'll be interesting to not only see how HP's standalone Cortana device compares to existing smart speaker rivals, such as Google Home and Echo, but also the standalone Cortana speaker from Harman Kardon.
It feels like there's a lot more to be revealed in this story.