Friday, 23 June, 2017

Cortana-Powered Speaker by Harman Kardon on the Cards

Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered Echo rival makes Skype calls Harman Kardon Invoke, Microsoft Cortana powered speaker teased
Lucas Bell | 09 May, 2017, 00:40

"We want Cortana to be available wherever you may need assistance being more productive, and the Invoke speaker from Harman Kardon is our next step in getting there", said Microsoft.

The speaker will allow users to place voice calls to mobile phones, landlines and other devices running Skype, as well as to control compatible smart home and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

When there is smoke there is fire, the adage says, and the recently published product page for the Cortana-powered speaker from Harman Kardon showed that the company was nearly ready to announce the new appliance.

Microsoft has been testing Cortana's interaction with the new speaker with a limited subset of Windows Insiders for a few weeks, according to MSPoweruser, including both the Windows 10 version of Cortana as well as the Android app.

The intelligent personal assistant also sports a do-not-disturb mode and even the settings of the Cortana can be altered by the users of the AI so that they are able to call the other users by their names or even nicknames. As the Amazon Echo rises in popularity, the market for designer speakers that can be the centerpiece of a home has developed.

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The Harman Kardon Invoke looks quite similar to the Amazon Echo as far as the design is concerned. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will announce its smart speaker at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.

While the landing page doesn't give a definitive launch date, it does note that the Invoke will be available from "fall 2017".

You can get more details about the intelligent speaker on the official product page. Since it's a Harman Kardon product, customers can expect sublime audio quality as well.

It also uses Harman's beam forming, echo cancellation, and noise reduction algorithms to ensure Cortana can hear you, even in challenging environments.

For Microsoft, the Invoke aids the company's long-term plans for its Cortana assistant. As points of reference, Echo runs $180 (currently on sale for $150) while Google Home costs $129 (currently on sale for $114).

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