Arriving This Fall, the Harman Kardon Invoke Features Microsoft's Cortana

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

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

Since this is a Microsoft product, that means Microsoft services, so you'll be using Skype to make voice calls, Cortana to keep your calendar and-in what you might rightly consider "the catch"-Bing for searches".

Harman Kardon and Microsoft unveiled the Invoke today. This expands Cortana's range from a mobile device and/or a computer desktop to a speaker anywhere in the house. No pricing details have been shared so far. This makes the device ideal for central placement in a room, allowing you to listen to clear audio and interact with the smart aspects from wherever you are.

Cortana is said to be "the most productive digital assistant" by Microsoft and is now used by more than 145 million people on PC and mobile devices. The Harman Kardon page implies that it will be able to serve as a speaker for audio-only Skype calls, and answer the standard gamut of Cortana queries, set reminders, and more.

"Hey, Cortana, do you like my drawings on the fridge?" Additionally, a survey done by RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney found Google's brand awareness in the U.S.to be about 80% of Alexa's, despite it being a relatively nascent release.

Smart home product integration is still slightly untested ground, so it will be interesting to see which products play nicely with this first generation device. Microsoft may announce additional partners during BUILD.

It had then echoed that Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant should start discussing their exit strategies as Cortana was stepping foot in the smart speaker space soon.

HARMAN (harman.com) designs and engineers connected products and solutions for automakers, consumers, and enterprises worldwide, including connected vehicle systems, audio and visual products, enterprise automation solutions; and services supporting the Internet of Things.

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

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

Amazon and Google are reportedly considering a call feature.

"We're excited to officially reveal the Cortana powered Harman Kardon Invoke smart home speaker", a Microsoft representative told me. Like the Echo, the Invoke will come in black and white.

Harman Kardon is now accepting pre-registrations for the Invoke's launch. The company in the page confirmed that the device is expected to be coming this fall (Sept to December).

It requires Cortana app for Windows 10 PC or phone (with the Windows 10 Creators Update), Android or iPhone (requires Android version 4.1.2 or higher, or iPhone 4 with iOS 8.0 or higher).

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