The Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker (left) with the Amazon Echo. Cortana will tap Alexa for shopping on Amazon, for example, while Alexa users will "have access to Cortana's knowledge and helpful productivity features such as calendar management, day at a glance, and rich email integration". Those who take part in the public preview will be able to share feedback to improve the experience, both companies said today.
Such a future would likely require support from rival voice assistants like Apple's Siri, Samsung's Bixby and the Google Assistant, none of which have shown much movement towards cooperation in the 12 months since Amazon and Microsoft's partnership was first announced.
Amazon teases that this is only the beginning of the relationship between Alexa and Cortana; it also warns that some features aren't available under the preview, including access to audiobooks, music, and Alexa's flash briefing. "Over time, additional skills and features will be integrated", explained a Microsoft spokesperson.
You can now issue Cortana basic workplace and organizational commands, such as "What emails do I have?" or "What's on my calendar for tomorrow?"
As of today, United States customers can access Alexa on Windows 10 devices and Harman Kardon Invoke speakers by using the "Hey Cortana, open Alexa" voice command, which will open a pop up window where you can sign it to your Amazon account (similarly, you can use "Alexa, open Cortana" on Amazon's Echo devices to connect your Microsoft account to Alexa).
This feedback will hopefully result in the inclusion of some now missing features, like music streaming and alarm clocks, as both parties intend to keep adding more over time.
If you've been waiting to use Alexa when only Cortana is available, or vice-versa, this preview might be exactly what you're looking for.
Getting these two ladies together means you can ask Alexa to tell Cortana to let you know what's on the cal!