We exclusively reported about Harman Kardon’s upcoming Cortana speaker back in October of last year. In December, Harman Kardon released a teaser for its Cortana-powered smart speaker that’s set to launch sometime soon. As well all know, the company is working with Microsoft on the new smart speaker. So far, there isn’t really much info regarding the Harman Kardon speaker, but we have some new info.
Skype integration on Invoke is going to be huge
Harman Kardon’s upcoming Cortana-powered smart speaker will be called the “Harman Kardon Invoke”, or the HK Invoke for short. The Harman Kardon Invoke will feature all the basic things, such as the ability to ask Cortana different questions, manage your schedule, add things to your to-do lists, and more. Invoke will also feature Skype integration, and that will allow users to call their Skype friends right from their smart speaker which most smart speakers such as the Amazon Echo and Google Home lack. So for example, if you want to call someone on the Invoke, you can simply say “Hey Cortana, call Andrew on Skype” and it will start a call with Andrew without needing you to do anything else.
In addition to the Skype integration, Invoke will also allow users to play and control music from third-party music streaming services such as iHeartRadio, as well as Microsoft’s own Groove Music. For instance, you will be able to trigger command such as “Hey Cortana, play the latest track from Ásgeir on iHeartRadio.”
In terms of the hardware, Invoke will sport a light ring similar to the Amazon Echo that will light up when Cortana is talking. The difference here is that the light ring on the Invoke isn’t the run-of-the-mill light ring — instead, you will see a really neat animation for Cortana when the speaker is active. Here’s a GIF showing it off in action:
What’s really cool about the Harman Kardon Invoke is that you won’t need a Windows 10 PC for it to work. If you have a Windows 10 Mobile device, you will be able to connect Invoke to your Windows Phone and it will still work exactly like it would with a Windows 10 PC thanks to Microsoft’s Universal Windows Platform.
Pricing is going to be a crucial factor for the Harman Kardon Invoke, however. Harman Kardon is famous for making premium speakers, so I personally won’t expect Invoke to be cheap and it will likely cost more than the Amazon Echo or Google Home. But with strong integration for music streaming service and premium audio, the Invoke might be a good option for consumers looking for a premium alternative to the Amazon Echo.