Intel and HP to get smart with Cortana-powered devices

The Build conference is underway in Seattle, and Microsoft is pushing hard with AI and Cortana, with an announcement that both Intel and HP have signed up to produce hardware featuring the digital assistant.

Following in the footsteps of Harman Kardon’s Cortana-powered speaker (Invoke – which is pictured above), HP will also make similar devices, along with Intel – and the latter is promising to knock up reference designs for Cortana-driven devices.

This is according to a TechCrunch report, but other than the actual partnerships and basic intentions of these companies, no details have actually been revealed about the gadgets we might see forthcoming.

We may hear more about HP and Intel’s potential creations as Build progresses, so keep your peepers peeled on TechRadar today and tomorrow.

Smart money

The smart home will potentially be a major market, so it’s little surprise that Microsoft has started to push Cortana into the various IoT gadgets that will furnish said homes.

A big piece of Microsoft’s smart home puzzle was put in place recently with the Creators Update, which brought Cortana support to Windows 10 IoT Core, and thus potentially to all manner of gadgets from smart fridges to thermostats (and indeed the Raspberry Pi 3, for tinkerers building their own smart home stuff).

As for Harman Kardon’s Invoke speaker, that’s expected to be available in the fall. There’s plenty of competition for Microsoft and partners, of course, in terms of Amazon Echo and Google Home.

Move on over Alexa

Also at Build today, Microsoft announced that its Cortana Skills Kit is now in public preview. The kit allows enterprising developers connect their apps and services to Cortana. On stage Microsoft demonstrated a few use cases including ordering pizza through  Domino’s, playing music on iHeartRadio and looking up only the most important information on Cat Facts.

What's more, Microsoft promises they will work across platforms including Windows 10, Android and iOS, as well as with standalone Cortana devices like the Invoke.

You can sign up to access the public preview here.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).