Microsoft could be working on a new portable speaker. Although Microsoft makes its own Surface-branded headphones, it is yet to launch a first-party speaker powered by Cortana. That could change soon, however.
According to a new patent filed by Microsoft back in 2017 and published today (via WindowsLatest), Microsoft seems to be working on a new portable speaker. The patent for the device shows off a design that looks identical to something like the Amazon Echo Dot, and it includes a fabric over the top of the device, with touch-sensitive buttons that you can use to control the volume or enable/disable the microphone.
Here’s the interesting part, though: this new speaker might not be for consumers or an Echo Dot competitor. Instead, the speaker could be for Microsoft’s Teams service. Brad first wrote about Microsoft working on an ambient computer on his Beneath a Surface book, and this could be it. In fact, if you look closely at the top of the device on the patent, you can see buttons for the calling functionality, which is a strong indicator of this being more of a device for meetings than a consumer-focused smart speaker.
What’s more, one of the inventors for the portable speaker is actually a principle design manager for Microsoft Teams devices, as noted by The Verge. So yes, this is most likely a speaker/meeting room device for Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft showed off a similar demo for “modern meetings” last year, where the company used AI, Microsoft 365, and Cortana to power a really cool meetings experience. And this new portable speaker could bring some of that to the real world: