Microsoft working on an Amazon Echo competitor

Microsoft with Quanta Computer seems to be working on a smart speaker.

By Vishal Kawadkar

    Microsoft is reportedly working on a smart speaker in partnership with Quanta Computer. At least that's what unspecified developer documentation suggests. There have been few technical specifications highlighted in the purported documents. It mentions that the device will be optimized for "Internet of Things" but there aren't any details about the execution.

    Microsoft working on an Amazon Echo competitor

    The smart speaker is tipped to boast one of Qualcomm's Snapdragon 212 SoCs. The processor is generally used in budget smartphones. It packs four ARM Cortex-A7 cores, clocked at 1.3GHz and backed by an Adreno 304 GPU. The use of such low-end chipset isn't surprising since the audio drivers would certainly be reliant on the server-side hardware. What's certain is that Microsoft's Cortana would power the device. However, there could be some room for Amazon Alexa integration, coming in line with the recent speculation of a collaboration.

    Amazon Echo Spot First Impressions

    According to the documents, the speakers are still under development, so it's best if you don't set high expectations to see a new smart speaker anytime soon. This could also be a reference device which will provide manufacturers a starting point. It will be interesting to see how Microsoft's smart speaker performs n a market dominated by giants such as Amazon and Google.

    Microsoft also recently filed a patent for a smartphone that will use three screens. A recently published patent shows a tablet-like device that can be folded both inwards and outwards. It has two primary displays which can be seen when the device is opened up. But, the device also includes a third display located on the hinge.

    Folding phones seems to be the next big things as big companies are poised to develop such devices. OEMs such as Apple, Samsung, Huawei, LG, and Motorola are said to be working on their foldable display phones. Microsoft applied for a hinge patent for a foldable device previously. While there's guarantee that these patents will make it to the production stage, it seems like Microsoft has big plans for such devices.

    Microsoft's previous patent showed some cleverly articulated screens hinting towards a foldable smartphone. Rumors about a Surface Phone have been doing rounds for years, and recently Microsoft got the full Windows 10 OS working on smartphone-like chips again.

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