Microsoft Unveils New Smart Speaker Rival to Amazon Echo

Kathleen Villaluz

Early this week, Microsoft officially revealed the Invoke speaker, an intelligent, voice-activated audio device powered by Cortana and manufactured by the high-end German audio brand Harman KardonMicrosoft Unveils New Smart Speaker Rival to Amazon Echo

[Image Source: Microsoft]

The Invoke speaker

The Invoke speaker is powered by Microsoft's Cortana, which combines intelligence, unparalleled high-fidelity audio, and sophisticated design. The speaker is voice activated just like the Amazon's Echo speaker that is powered by Alexa. However, to step up a level from its earlier rivals, Invoke embodies a more elegant style and highly technical audio system as Harman Kardon takes on the design and manufacturing of the speaker. Uniting Cortana's smart features and Harman Kardon's rich audio heritage, this speaker is designed for both home and office use.

Harman's President of the Lifestyle Audio Division, Michael Mauser, shares his excitement about the upcoming launch of the intelligent speaker.

"We’re excited to work with Microsoft to develop a premium speaker that will deliver an exceptional experience to every customer using 360-degree Harman Kardon sound and the intelligence of Cortana. Voice-enabled technology is the future; by teaming up with Microsoft, we’re delivering on our promise of elevating a connected life through smart technology, superior sound and the stunning design that is Harman Kardon’s hallmark".

The Invoke speaker powered by Cortana and made by Harman Kardon

[Image Source: Harman Kardon]

Harman Kardon demonstrates their high-fidelity audio reputation by designing Invoke to have 3 woofers and 3 tweeters that give a full range, 360-degree sound. Solid bass performance is delivered through the 2 tuned passive radiators coming from a small enclosure. Using Invoke, users can receive hands-free calls from mobile phones, landlines, and other Skype-enabled devices. One of the high-end features of Invoke is its 7 microphones that are embedded into the speaker and uses Harman's beam forming, echo cancellation, and noise reduction algorithms. This SONIQUE far-field voice technology ensures that Cortana can pick up what you are saying even in challenging surroundings.

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The combination of Cortana and Invoke can control your smart home devices through voice activation like switching out the lights or controlling the temperature.

Invoke speaker made by Harman Kardon and powered by Cortana

[Image Source: Harman Kardon]

Moreover, Invoke and Cortana are also capable of managing calendars and activities, set reminders, check traffic flow, deliver the latest news, and of course, play your favorite music. Many other voice-activated tasks can be performed by this intelligent and sophisticated combination of Invoke and Cortana.

"We are excited to partner with Harman Kardon to create a speaker that combines premium audio and stylish design with the intelligence of Cortana", says Jordi Ribas, CVP, AI Products at Microsoft. "This is our next step in bringing Cortana to even more devices to help users be more productive wherever they are".

Microsoft's Windows family of devices including Invoke

[Image Source: Microsoft]

Invoke is available in Pearl Silver (white) and Graphite (black) aesthetics with a sleek, and modern design that will modernize your home's style. The speaker is crafted from premium-grade materials and electronics that can fill large rooms and spaces with high-quality sounds. Furthermore, this intelligent speaker is user-friendly with easy to use features like a 'touch to surprise' user interface panel at the top of the speaker. It also has interactive Cortana lighting and intuitive buttons.

Harman Kardon's Invoke speaker detail

[Image Source: Harman Kardon]

Invoke's availability

Invoke speakers will be available only in the USA at selected retailers and Microsoft Stores by fall 2017. For those who wants to purchase this smart speaker when it comes out, the Harman Kardon's website is the best place to find out how to get one and how much it will be.

Via Harman's Newsroom

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