Microsoft and Harman Kardon recently took the wraps off of Invoke, the first Cortana-powered speaker — but it looks like that's only a taste of things to come. At its Build 2017 developer conference today, Microsoft announced that it has signed partnerships with HP and Intel to bring more Cortana-enabled devices to the fore.
Specifically, Microsoft says that HP will work on integrating Cortana into devices, while Intel will turn its attention to reference platforms. Given Microsoft's focus on leveraging Cortana's AI smarts in new hardware, it's likely we'll see more partnerships signed with other hardware manufacturers in the future as well.
This follows on the heels of Cortana Skills Kit launching in public preview, giving more developers the ability to create skills or port already existing Amazon Alexa skills over to Microsoft's platform. Not only will this make Cortana, and thus any Cortana hardware, more useful, but it represents a shift to challenge Amazon's Echo in the smart home arena. And given recent leaks surrounding an upcoming Windows 10 feature called HomeHub, that's an area we can expect Microsoft to delve into even further later this year.