Microsoft's 'Invoke' Cortana-powered speaker revealed, to be made by Harmon Kardon

Kristi Paul
May 9, 2017

Available in black and silver, the Invoke's cylindrical body makes it look like a taller, more tapered Amazon Echo, complete with a glowing, twistable top piece.

We had earlier reported that Microsoft and Harmon Kardon are working together on a new device on the similar lines to Amazon's Echo and Google's Home to be powered by Cortana. Harman highlighted the device's integration with Microsoft's Skype internet-calling service - a feature neither rival has, though each reportedly is considering it for the next generation of their products.

Microsoft and Harman first revealed images of the speaker a year ago, but now there is a "coming soon" at the top of the product page, which was first spotted by Thurrott, and has given users more details about the device.

Invoke's version of Cortana is of course the same digital assistant on your PCs, iOS and Android apps, provided you've signed in with the same Microsoft user account. Microsoft's new product brings to life its voice assistant called Cortana, which exists just on mobile devices and Windows operating system. While Harman won't announce the price until closer to the release date, it will likely aim for the under-$200 tag shared by competitors like the Amazon Echo and the Google Home.

Microsoft and Harman Kardon, a subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, are set to release a smart speaker this fall that plays music, manages calendars, checks traffic and more - and it is powered by Cortana.

Microsoft's 'Invoke' Cortana-powered speaker revealed, to be made by Harmon Kardon
Microsoft's 'Invoke' Cortana-powered speaker revealed, to be made by Harmon Kardon

As for the features, the Invoke speaker is powered by Harman Kardon's legacy audio technology and projects sound at 360 degrees. The Redmond-based company is expected to share more information about the speakers at its Build conference that will start from Wednesday. Meanwhile, the Invoke comes with Harman's Sonique far-field voice recognition tech, which employs seven microphones to help recognize voice commands even in high ambient noise.

Dave Rogers, Harman's senior vice president of consumer audio, said the Invoke will have superior audio quality, an area where the consumer electronics maker has expertise.

For Microsoft, the Invoke aids the company's long-term plans for its Cortana assistant.

Amazon's Echo also uses Bing when it can't answer a question itself, but can order things from Amazon by voice as its flagship feature.

Other reports by VideoGamingPros

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