Harman Kardon teases Cortana-powered Invoke speaker

Shawn Knight

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

Microsoft has partnered with the audio experts at Harman Kardon to create an Amazon Echo competitor called the Invoke. First teased late last year, the Cortana-powered speaker will be capable of three primary tasks: making and receiving calls via Skype, voice-controlled music playback and of course, completing various tasks using Microsoft’s personal digital assistant.

A preview page on Harman Kardon’s website spotted by Thurrott provides our first glimpse of the Invoke speaker.

At a glance, it looks a lot like Amazon’s Echo but upon closer inspection, there are several noteworthy differences. Offered in silver and black color schemes, the design is a bit wider at the base and tapers upwards. A heavily perforated grill covers the majority of the metallic speaker cabinet versus the larger openings on the Echo that only extend about half way up the device.

By partnering with a well-known name in the industry, Microsoft is no doubt hoping to buck the stigma of low-quality audio often associated with speakers of this size and type.

Amazon has done a fine job of crafting an entire industry with its Echo device. Google Home is already on the market and Apple’s Siri-based competitor could break cover at early as next month. Amazon is also reportedly working on an updated version of its Alexa-powered speaker that may feature a touchscreen.

Harman Kardon’s website highlights a fall 2017 launch and offers the option to register your e-mail to be notified when the Invoke is available. Pricing and other pertinent details, unfortunately, aren’t mentioned.

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