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Synaptics Broadens Ecosystem for Cortana Integration

January 11, 2018

Synaptics and Microsoft started an initiative to facilitate fast, cost effective development of voice-enabled solutions with Microsoft Cortana that leverages Synaptics AudioSmart far-field voice DSP technology. With a focus on enabling an exceptional Cortana user experience across a broad array of platforms, the collaboration includes ODM partner programs, reference designs, and comprehensive rapid development kits (RDKs) specifically tuned to support the Microsoft Cortana devices ecosystem, including Skype.

Synaptics is enabling a voice platform framework that significantly elevates the user experience and reduces OEM/ODM time-to-market. Highly-integrated systems leveraging advanced DSP hardware and unmatched voice preprocessing technology have been engineered to meet key Microsoft objectives, including:

•Superior End User Experience: Synaptics’ enhanced noise suppression and echo cancellation algorithms ensure the Cortana speech recognition engine and remote Skype call participants hear the user’s voice and nothing else.

•Optimized Manufactured Cost: Powered by AudioSmart voice DSPs, developers can prototype and develop affordable voice-enabled devices that rival the performance of more expensive systems.

•Reduced Time-to-Market: Reference designs, drivers, tuning tools, and ODM partner programs are offered to expedite production time. Synaptics’ voice solutions were designed to work with all ASR engines.

The first RDK relies on Synaptics’ two-microphone platform with AudioSmart far-field voice DSP, and will be paired with all necessary Microsoft client software to begin prototyping immediately. Synaptics’ far-field voice technology enables speech recognition and voice control from up to five meters away, detecting the Cortana wake-word even under noisy conditions such as a loud television nearby or while the device is actively playing music. The AudioSmart solution leverages proprietary Smart Source Pickup™ technology that detects voice and cancels noise from any direction, even if it’s coming from the same direction as speech.

“The collaboration enables an excellent path for OEMs and ODMs to deliver a very high-quality Cortana experience, get their products to market faster with low engineering complexity, and produce innovative voice solutions at a competitive price point without all the hassle and additional costs of grounds-up development,” said Saleel Awsare, vice president and general manager, Audio and Imaging Business at Synaptics. “We very much look forward to building our collaboration with Microsoft, and helping the broader OEM community quickly develop and deliver high-performance voice solutions with the full benefits of the Cortana ecosystem.”

“We are excited to see Synaptics build platforms that help customers tap into the full potential of Cortana’s productivity and voice enabled assistance,” said Jordi Ribas, CVP, AI Products at Microsoft Corp. “The opportunities for Cortana-based solutions are broad and interconnected, drawing together intelligent home speakers, PCs, mobile devices, smart home devices, automotive and beyond.”

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