Microsoft and Harman Kardon formally announce the Cortana-powered Invoke speaker

Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered Echo rival makes Skype calls

When Amazon's Alexa device hit the market, consumers were more than excited.

We had earlier reported that Microsoft and Harmon Kardon are working together on a new device on the similar lines to Amazon's Echo and Google's Home to be powered by Cortana.

Harman Kardon's Invoke smart speaker will be released in the fall.

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We previously reported that Microsoft had partnered with Harman Kardon to bring Cortana to your living room or wherever you may desire a smart speaker with a digital assistant.

Features include the ability to use Skype to make calls to mobile phones, landlines and other devices running the Microsoft-owned communications platform. Today, Microsoft and Harman Kardon are officially launching the new Invoke. But here are some additional details about this device. In March 2017, HARMAN became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. Those interested can register on the official page to be notified when Invoke will be available for purchase.

The speakers will be 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. Like those speakers, Invoke will let people use their voices to cue it to play music, read the news, and schedule reminders.

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And you can also voice control your compatible smart home devices to do things like turn out the lights or control the temperature.

As for the Amazon Echo Look camera, it's really a bet on tech called "computer vision", basically turning cameras into "eyes" for artificial intelligence systems. While we shouldn't write off the Invoke yet, Microsoft needs to tell us how it's just a single piece of a Cortana-powered ecosystem that presumably spans the PC to your home to maybe your auto.

Invoke's version of Cortana is of course the same digital assistant on your PCs, iOS and Android apps, provided you've signed in with the same Microsoft user account.

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