Update: Shortly after posting this article, Harmon Kardon and Microsoft released their respective press releases announcing the Invoke. The new details are listed below, and the original article follows.
- 360 degree sound: 3 woofers, 3 tweeters, and 2 passive radiators
- Use Cortana to play music, manage your calendar/activities, set reminders, check traffic, get news updates, and more
- Skype integration: make calls to landlines, cell phones, and to Skype users
- Voice control smart home devices
- Cortana is used by over 145 million PC and mobile users
- Available only in the US
- Setup requires the Cortana app on a Windows 10 device with the Creators Update, Android 4.1.2 or newer, or iOS 8.0 or newer
- Color options: Pearl Silver and Graphite (see last image on this page)
- Metallic speaker cabinet
- Uses HK’s SoniqueTM far-field voice recognition with 7 microphones to hear you from anywhere in the room
- Uses beam forming, echo cancellation, and noise reduction algorithms to minimize ambient sound
Original: There have been rumors and patent filings for a Harmon Kardon device that is similar to Amazon’s Echo. However the Harmon Kardon’s device, called Invoke, will use Microsoft’s Cortana digital assistant. It looks like Harmon Kardon accidentally published pages on their website for the Invoke ahead of Microsoft’s BUILD conference (May 10-12).
Before the content was removed from their website, you could register to be one of the first people to be notified when the Invoke is available for purchase. The Invoke has similar features as the Amazon Echo and Echo Dot as well as Google Home such as being able to ask Cortana questions or asking it to do a task such as a reminder or to activate a smart home device. The Invoke will have 360 degree speakers so you can get great sound no matter where you are, and Harmon Kardon products are known for having some of the best audio products in the market. Hopefully the Invoke will continue that tradition. When Cortana is activated, most likely by saying “Hey Cortana”, the top of the Invoke will light up and show Cortana’s logo (a blue circle). This is very similar to what the Echo products do when you say “Alexa”. That could work in Microsoft’s favor since it’s something people are used to seeing, and I don’t see it being a legal issue since Cortana’s logo is a blue circle.
Unfortunately that’s all we know for now, but since the BUILD Conference is in 2 days we shouldn’t have to wait for much longer. We do know that Spotify will work with the Invoke, and we know that smart home devices will as well. I’m guessing the price will be $200 or less since the Echo is $180 and Google Home is $130. The more industrial design and high end speakers could be enough validation to bump the price a little higher than the Echo. I’m also going to guess that you can enable the Invoke to tie into Cortana on your computer, laptop, or tablet as well. Microsoft products are already able to share settings between devices you allow it to, so providing the option to sync with the Invoke seems like a no-brainer.
Are you interested in the Invoke? How often do you use your Echo or Google Home?
Via: Windows Central