The Amazon Echo has made great strides in bringing AI to the living room, but Alexa isn’t exactly the best assistant you can get today. Google Assistant takes that spot for me, but the second best today is easily Cortana from Microsoft. It works across every platform including the computer, and its voice is easily the most realistic.

However, Cortana has yet to really compete with the like of Alexa or Assistant in a device like the Echo or Home. Now, that’s changing, with the Invoke from Harman Kardon.

Like Amazon and Google’s efforts, Invoke takes Cortana and puts it into a smart home speaker that is always ready to answer your questions. It’s unclear what command Microsoft’s assistant will use on this form factor to start working, but it seems like that it would follow Windows 10 by using “Hey Cortana.” One interesting feature of Cortana on this form factor is that it features Skype calling, a big perk over the competition.



Combining Harman Kardon’s rich audio heritage with Cortana’s intelligence, Invoke is developed for busy people balancing the competing demands of work and home. This sophisticated device is perfect for those who want to make the most of every moment of their day.

Flawlessly blending form and function, Invoke is equipped with easy to use features, like a ‘touch to surprise’ user interface panel at the top of the speaker, interactive Cortana lighting, and intuitive buttons. It is the first of its kind to feature Skype integration, allowing users to make and receive crystal-clear, hands-free calls.

Since Harman Kardon is well known for developing spectacular audio products, it’s also a safe bet that listening to music through the Invoke will sound excellent with 360-sound that will fill an entire room. The Invoke will also be available in “Pearl Silver” and “Graphite.” Pricing on this product is unclear at this time, but it’s very likely that it will either match or undercut efforts from Google and Amazon and fall somewhere around $150. Sales kick off later this year.

Press Release

HARMAN Reveals the Harman Kardon Invoke Intelligent Speaker with Cortana from Microsoft

Voice-activated speaker with Cortana combines intelligence, unparalleled sound, and elegant design

STAMFORD, CONN.HARMAN International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. focused on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets; today announced new details of the Harman Kardon Invoke™, an elegant voice-activated speaker featuring the intelligence of Cortana, your personal digital assistant, from Microsoft.

Combining Harman Kardon’s rich audio heritage with Cortana’s intelligence, Invoke is developed for busy people balancing the competing demands of work and home. This sophisticated device is perfect for those who want to make the most of every moment of their day.

“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,” said Michael Mauser, President, Lifestyle Audio Division at HARMAN. “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.”

Invoke, with Cortana, is a voice-activated speaker that can play your favorite music, manage calendars and activities, set reminders, check traffic, deliver the latest news and much more.  With Skype integration, you can make calls to cellphones, landlines and other Skype-enabled devices. You can also control your smart home devices using voice to do things like turn out the lights or control the temperature.

Cortana is used by more than 145 million people across devices and platforms with best-in-class natural language recognition and deep integration with Microsoft’s suite of knowledge and productivity tools, helping the user stay productive whether at home, the work place through a Windows 10 PC or on the go with a mobile device.

“We are excited to partner with Harman Kardon to create a speaker that combines premium audio and stylish design with the intelligence of Cortana.” said 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.”

Available in Pearl Silver (White) and Graphite (Black), Invoke has a sleek, modern design that enhances any home.  Crafted from premium materials, Invoke’s striking metallic speaker cabinet delivers power and projects sound a full 360-degrees, filling even a large room or space. Harman Kardon’s unparalleled sound reveals all the beautiful details in your music.

Flawlessly blending form and function, Invoke is equipped with easy to use features, like a ‘touch to surprise’ user interface panel at the top of the speaker, interactive Cortana lighting, and intuitive buttons. It is the first of its kind to feature Skype integration, allowing users to make and receive crystal-clear, hands-free calls.

Invoke is outfitted with HARMAN’s SONIQUE™ far-field voice recognition technology. It is a proprietary 360-degree adaptive technology (featuring 7 microphones) that recognizes all details of voice commands even in environments with high ambient noise. It uses HARMAN’s beam forming, echo cancellation, and noise reduction algorithms to ensure Cortana can hear you, even in challenging environments.

AVAILABILITY

Harman Kardon Invoke™ with Cortana by Microsoft will be available in the USA only at select retailers and Microsoft Stores in fall 2017. For additional information on Invoke, please visit www.harmankardon.com/invoke. For additional information on Microsoft Cortana, please visit www.microsoft.com/cortana