Microsoft has been applying unconventional methods to promote its products, of late. First, it gave another publication the exclusive rights to reveal the specs of its upcoming console and now, the company will be inviting select insiders from the US to test out a Cortana-powered device.
In what may most likely be the upcoming Harman Kardon speaker, the company will be kicking off this pilot program in a couple of weeks. The HK Invoke, as we reported, is a premium device competing with the likes of Amazon Echo, and comes with Skype integration among other things. The Cortana-powered device will reportedly be a seamless experience irrespective of what phone you use, owing to the digital assistant's presence on all mobile platforms.
This move is unprecedented in Microsoft's hardware group, as they rarely ever out details of their products, much less give them out for testing purposes. This may point to a cultural shift in the company which now values customer feedback instead of ignoring it. Maybe a little more than is necessary. Cortana's abilities have been growing ever since it went cross-platform, having about 145 million monthly users.
The Redmond company's vision for Cortana is obviously bigger than just a personal assistant on mobile devices and PCs. This can be seen with the digital assistant's foray into Internet of Things, connected cars, and how it ties into the Home Hub, the Redmond company's homegrown rival to Amazon Echo and Google Home. The company will also be encouraging developers to integrate Cortana into their products using the Cortana Skills Kit SDK. This year could be the one when we begin to see what Microsoft's plans are in this area and its foundation can already be seen.