Microsoft’s personal assistant Cortana never took off as the company hoped. Windows Phone is dead, which hasn’t helped, and although it does release an Android and iOS app, they never saw wide traction. Even done by a partner thermostats and speakers did not dazzle. Now Microsoft says it will end support for Cortana on iOS and Android, and the Harmon Kardon Invoke speaker will just be a Bluetooth speaker.
In truth, it may be for the best. I tried using a Harmon Kardon Invoke Cortana speaker for a weekend, and it went wrong. Voice commands never worked well, Part 3 skills were lacking, and the most powerful thing you could do was call Alexa. The speaker sounds great, but Cortana is terrible.
This is Cortana’s way in general, and slowly Microsoft has moved away from positioning the personal assistant as a consumer service towards a prosumer service. In recent demos, you’ll see Cortana in use in Desktop settings, not Home settings.
As reported by ZDNet, Microsoft will end support for all third-party Cortana skills on September 7. Subsequently, it will end support for iOS and Android apps in early 2021. If you’re using tasks or calendar features, Microsoft suggests using Windows 10’s Cortana features instead.
And the date of the Invoke Cortana powered speaker gets a January 2021 shutdown date. Microsoft is working with Harmon Kardon on a process to update the speaker firmware. This update will transform the speaker into a standard Bluetooth speaker. If you want to use Spotify, you will need to remove your phone and establish a Bluetooth connection.
It might sound like a bummer, but it’s the best feature of the Harmon Kardon in the first place, so at least the device will still work one way or another. Microsoft says it will provide affected Invoke speaker owners a $ 50 Microsoft Store gift card, but only to the last Microsoft account logged into the speaker.
And if you have the original Microsoft Surface headphones, Cortana is leaving them as well. The company offers a $ 25 gift card for your troubles.
Cortana is unlikely to be able to compete with Alexa and Google Assistant at this point, so the pivot to desktop settings makes sense. Cortana will still be there, but not in the form of a personal assistant.