Harman Kardon Invoke, Microsoft Cortana powered speaker teased

Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered Echo rival makes Skype calls

Harman Kardon has a reputation for high quality speakers so one of the things we can be certain of is that the Invoke will sound good.

The voice-controlled Invoke, made by Samsung's Harman Kardon unit, will use Microsoft's Cortana digital assistant to take commands. 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.

Powered by Microsoft's Cortana virtual assistant, the Invoke works like the Amazon Echo or Google Home.




This feature was revealed when Microsoft released a Device Setup app in April, leading us to think that a Cortana-powered speaker was imminent. To compete with Google Home and Amazon Echo, the Invoke has a familiar design design with a cylindrical form factor. There's also a good chance that other hardware partners are on board and the Invoke will launch alongside other Cortana-powered speakers later this year. While we shouldn't write off the Invoke yet, Microsoft needs to tell us how it's just a single piece of a Cortana-powered ecosystem that presumably spans the PC to your home to maybe your vehicle. Once invoked, certain skills can manipulate Cortana to begin a conversation between it and the user, it adds.

You can get more details about the intelligent speaker on the official product page. Big tech companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and Google have invested millions of dollars in their respective digital assistants, which they believe will be a major way that consumers will interact with computers-joining the standard keyboard, mouse, and touchscreen. It can also be used to set reminders, check the traffic on your way to work, and control connected appliances in your smart home. The voice assistant will be backed by a seven-microphone array, along with echo- and noise-cancellation technology - all of which should help Cortana hear you better when you say, "Hey, Cortana, what's the weather?"

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