Qualcomm's Smart Audio Platform now supports Cortana as the company just announced that in doing so it's introducing the world to the first smart-speaker platform that's compatible with Microsoft's digital assistant. This is in the midst of rapidly growing support for rival smart speaker platforms from other companies such as Google, Amazon, and Apple with their respective Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri digital assistant technology.
This new partnership between Qualcomm and Microsoft aims to bring Cortana into the burgeoning age of consumer products that are powered by Artificial Intelligence and fit right in with a slew of new IoT-related products that make everyday life more convenient, from asking a simple question to initiating a task like turning up the temperature in the home when it's deemed too cold. The platform, Qualcomm says, will help OEMs create smart speaker products that are powered by Cortana by integrating the necessary hardware and software components that can help them reduce development and production times, which will help these smart speakers get into the market and into the hands of consumers at a faster pace.
While this might be the first step in getting Cortana-powered smart speakers onto the market, it's not the first arrival of a Cortana-powered smart home device thanks to the recently released GLAS smart thermostat that also has Cortana inside. That said, Qualcomm's platform does put Cortana in a better position to be in more homes than the thermostat as the smart speakers will undoubtedly be more affordable and likely work with a range of other smart home devices like smart bulbs, smart switches, and of course speakers built on this platform will surely with GLAS as well as it wouldn't make sense for them not to. Qualcomm says that the Smart Audio Platform with Cortana support is expected to be available in the first half of this year, but since this is aimed at manufacturers and not consumers directly, smart speakers likely won't launch for consumers to pick up until the second half of the year as manufacturers will need time to work with the platform before they can develop and produce products to sell. For the time being, consumers shouldn't expect any Cortana-based smart speakers to be available in the near future.