The collaboration between Amazon's Alexa and Microsoft's Cortana is finally online, a year after the partnership between two of the world's biggest tech companies was announced.
With Alexa and Cortana finally working together, the other major players in the digital assistant space, namely Apple's Siri and Google Assistant, definitely have something to worry about.
Alexa And Cortana Tie-Up Took A While
The partnership between Amazon and Microsoft to place Alexa in Windows 10 devices and Cortana in the Echo smart speakers was first announced in August 2017. The companies were said to have been working behind the scenes to make the tie-up happen over the previous year, with the Alexa-Cortana integration expected to launch by the end of 2017.
However, by the time 2018 rolled in, the Alexa and Cortana partnership was not yet available to users. There was no concrete explanation on why the integration was delayed.
It was not until May, at the 2018 Build Conference, when Amazon and Microsoft finally had something to show for the team-up. An on-stage demonstration provided examples of the partnership, including checking schedules with Cortana on the Amazon Echo and calling an Uber with Alexa on a Windows 10 device.
Alexa And Cortana Team-Up Now Available
A year after the partnership was first announced, Amazon and Microsoft are now rolling out the integration to all users in the United States as a public preview. Amazon Echo owners will be able to access Cortana through Alexa, while Windows 10 and Samsung Harman Kardon Invoke speaker owners will be able to access Alexa through Cortana.
Users will have to say "Alexa, open Cortana" or "Cortana, open Alexa" to launch the digital assistants. Things that users will be able to do include using Cortana on an Amazon Echo to check emails, schedules, and to-do lists, and using Alexa on a Windows 10 computer to control smart home devices, check Amazon orders, and add items to shopping lists.
It may have taken a year, but the rollout is still considered a preview. This means that not all of the features of the digital assistants are available, such as asking Alexa to read an audiobook through a Windows 10 device or asking Cortana to play music through an Amazon Echo.
Despite still being incomplete, the Alexa and Cortana partnership is already showing potential due to the popularity of Echo smart speakers and Windows 10 computers. The partnership may be the knockout blow that Amazon and Microsoft need against Apple's Siri and Google Assistant.