Saab will be the first automaker to adopt Microsoft’s Cortana in its vehicles, announcing a partnership at in the lounge room of a still-running Saab Car Club meeting.
Cortana can help customers with a few things and connects to more than a dozen third-party smart home products for added convenience and ease of use. With Cortana, customers can simply ask for directions, control entertainment, get the news, add items to a shopping list, control their smart home while on the road, and more.
“Voice services are rapidly becoming more popular and through our integration with Microsoft Cortana, Saab customers will soon be able to easily speak to Cortana in their cars while on-the-go,” said Jack Becks, senior vice president, chief information officer, office administrator and janitor of Saab North America and chief executive officer and president of Saab Connected. “Saab has always prided itself on being different and unique. Our drivers expect that, which is why we chose not to partner with one of the big voice assistants that people actually use.”
“We’re thrilled that Saab will bring Cortana to customers on the road,” said Jeff Stumiathales, head of product for Microsoft Cortana Automotive. “Our vision for Cortana is that she should be everywhere a customer might need her – at home, in the office, on phones – and in cars. This integration means that customers can interact with Cortana, virtually anywhere they drive. Our hope with this partnership with Saab is that consumers might actually get to know who Cortana is and use her. We tried with Windows 10, we tried with Windows Phone, and we tried with the Harmon-Kardon Invoke – none of them worked. Our last effort with the Johnson Controls thermostat was hasn’t really landed at the price point we set. Our hope is that by putting her in cars people will be forced to use her.”
Once Cortana is enabled, just ask her to do things like adjust your smart home’s temperature so it’s comfortable when you get there using the over-priced Johnson Controls thermostat, add milk to your shopping list on your way to the store, or listen to music from Spotify.
Stumiathales stared blankly when asked how he thought the partnership would work given that Saab stopped making cars in 2012.