Get ready for Cortana-powered Amazon Echo clones

Francis Harris
May 9, 2017

Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered speaker, called Invoke, is set to launch in the Fall, and while it hasn't been properly announced yet, a product page for it did briefly appear on the web, revealing numerous juicy details.

The Harman Kardon Invoke™ Intelligent Speaker will come with Cortana, Microsoft's smart assistant.

In the press release, Michael Mauser, President of the Lifestyle and Audio Division at Harman, said: "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".

That Microsoft is apparently finalizing its IoT plans right before its hosts its Build developer conference this week is telling, as it implies that Microsoft will have much more to say about the Cortana-powered devices. Now, Harman Kardon has revealed the Invoke speaker. The teaser video had shown off a Harman Kardon speaker powered by the smarts of Redmond's uber-cool voice assistant - Cortana.

Harman Kardon Invoke

Google got in on the action in 2016, a year after the Echo, with a similar device, the Google Home, that uses the company's own take on voice-activated software. News of the forthcoming device hit at the same time Microsoft announced its Cortana Skills Kit and Cortana Devices SDK.

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.

The Invoke, which will debut this fall, comes more two years after the release of the Echo, which has sold more 11 million units through late last year, according to estimates by Morgan Stanley. The Invoke is Harman Kardon's first attempt to enter this market, explore emerging assistance technology, and attract new customers. Cortana also works across devices, including PC and mobile, so she's there whenever you need help. And it looks like Amazon Echo's conical cousin, right down to the volume dial on top. It will only be available in the US and must be paired with a phone running iOS 8.0 or higher, Android 4.1.2 or higher, or the Windows 10 Mobile Creators Update.

Other reports by TheDigitalNewspaper

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