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Microsoft announced today that companies like Qualcomm are creating reference designs to encourage hardware makers to integrate AI assistant Cortana into more devices. At the Consumer Electronics Show on Monday, Qualcomm also announced plans to make Cortana part of its Smart Audio platform.

The Qualcomm Smart Audio Platform with Cortana integration is scheduled to be available to device makers in the first half of 2018, according to a release from Qualcomm.

Joining Microsoft’s Cortana partner program are Synaptics, Allwinner, and Tomly. Each program participant is creating reference designs for manufacturers to incorporate Cortana into things like mesh networks and smart home devices.

The Cortana Device SDK was first made available in private preview in December 2016.


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Last week, Johnson Controls announced plans to release a transparent thermostat with Cortana built-in.

In addition to reference designs, Microsoft today announced that Cortana is able to work with devices from popular brands such as Honeywell, Ecobee, LIFX, and TP-Link Kasa to power things like smart lightbulbs, thermostats, and plugs.

Cortana may have tech giant Microsoft behind it, but AI assistants from other tech brands have thus far grabbed the spotlight at this year’s CES.

Fulfilling a commitment made by Samsung last fall, Bixby is coming to Smart TVs and Family Hub refrigerators this year. Bixby will also be incorporated into Harman International’s 5G-connected car platform.

Together with partners like JBL and Sony, Google yesterday brought its Assistant to smart speakers with a visual display and made Google Assistant central to the Android Auto experience.

And smart speaker leader Alexa has been integrated into a number of devices — from kitchen appliances and wireless headphones to vehicle dashboards and augmented reality glasses.