Microsoft's Cortana isn't yet boasting a strong portfolio of hardware that runs on its platform, but hopefully, that will change in the future. The platform tools are there and recent hardware announcements from Qualcomm should hopefully make it easier to produce speakers to rival those powered by Amazon's Alexa and Google's Assistant.
If you're wanting in right now though, there's only one real way: The Harman Kardon Invoke. But it's not the only thing to talk about.
The one to get - Harman Kardon Invoke
The Harman Kardon Invoke is the current poster child for the Cortana powered smart speaker. It's also currently only $99, which is superb value for a speaker that actually sounds great. So even if listening to music is the thing you do with it most, you're getting a really good product.
It looks fantastic in two colors, has seven far-field microphones (which can be disabled), three tweeters and three woofers and a 360-degree speaker grill. It doesn't matter where you are in relation to the Invoke, you'll hear the great sound and it'll hear your voice clearly.
It also has Bluetooth 4.1 so you can use any device to wirelessly play music through the Invoke, and while the Cortana platform continues to be built out it can play music directly from sources like Spotify, access information such as weather and your calendar, make Skype calls and even send a very basic email. The only real drawback is that officially it's only available in the U.S.
For more, be sure to check out our full review.
Coming soon™ - HP's Cortana Speaker
This isn't a product we know much about. Aside from a brief appearance in a Microsoft presentation at Computex in 2017, nothing really is known about HP's Cortana-powered speaker. Not a name, not a prospective time for release, not a price.
We do know it'll be a standalone speaker just like the Invoke, though it looks a lot different if indeed the image here even represents the final product. If that product is even going to come to market.
It's one to keep an eye out for, though. HP is a great Microsoft hardware partner so if it's making something powered by Cortana, we're interested.
More to come - Xiaomi
Besides what we have and what we've seen but don't yet have, we're expecting to see something from Xiaomi in the future following the recent partnership on AI, hardware and the cloud between the two companies.
Xiaomi already has the Mi AI smart speaker powered by its own platform, but it's believed that future versions will run Cortana. Xiaomi makes solid yet affordable hardware, but its availability in the west is one of the biggest hurdles still.
In any case, the Xiaomi Mi AI is one to track, especially if you're outside the U.S.
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