It doesn’t look like Microsoft is quite as committed to and serious about the rapidly growing, almost overcrowded smart speaker market as Amazon, Google or even Essential and soon enough Apple, leaving the otherwise impressive Cortana AI without a high-profile standalone device.

The Redmond-based tech giant isn’t thinking of releasing an in-house smart home hub anytime soon, and the third-party Harman Kardon Invoke has barely been promoted by its top software endorser thus far, not to mention the product remains vaguely slated for a distant fall rollout.

Meanwhile, the other piece of Cortana-powered “digital assistant” hardware, which seemed like it could be a bigger deal with more aggressive advertising, turns out to depend greatly on a Windows 10 PC connection.

That’s right, HP’s as-yet unnamed smart speaker will be virtually useless on its own… whenever it comes to market, with its only “visual representation”, aka artist render, showcased at Computex 2017 in Taipei making it look an awful lot like Amazon’s hockey puck-shaped Echo Dot.

That’s the smaller, cheaper but still independent Echo version, so we honestly have no idea how much HP should charge for its computer-reliant counterpart to make it worth the obvious functionality compromise.

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