Update: The Harman Kardon Invoke is now available for purchase from the Microsoft Store online and in stores. You can get one for yourself here for $199. The speaker is also available from Best Buy and HarmanKardon.com.
It’s finally here. This Sunday, Microsoft is finally going to start selling the first ever Cortana-powered speaker: the Harman Kardon Invoke (checkout our first impressions here). The device is launching initially in the United States for $199.
Harman Kardon’s Invoke speaker features premium sound thanks to the three 1.75-inch woofers and three 0.5-inch tweeters that offer true 360-degree sound. Harman Kardon has packed 7 microphones into the speaker with support for its Sonique technology which will make sure Cortana can hear you from any direction. The technology also enables the virtual assistant to be able to hear your commands through all sorts of background noise and leverages Harman’s complex beam forming, noise reduction and echo cancellation algorithms in order to improve voice recognition.
The speaker features a touch panel on the top which has a cool Cortana animation that you can interact with — by tapping on it, you’ll be able to stop any current task (e.g. a Skype call) or get a random fact from Cortana when the speaker is idle. You can also twist the dial at the top of your Invoke to control the volume of the speaker.
Cortana is obviously built into the speaker, and you can connect the personal assistant with your Windows 10, Android, or iOS device. Once connected, you will be able to use Cortana to set reminders, create to-do lists, search the web, listen to music, and more. Right now, Invoke will only support music services from Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn — but Microsoft plans on adding support for Pandora, as well as SoundCloud and Deezer in the future.
Another neat feature on the Invoke is the Skype integration that lets you make voice calls with your Skype contacts right from your smart speaker. This feature is actually quite sophisticated, also allowing users to call local businesses by name, or make phone calls with the same called ID as their regular phone.
The speaker will also let you control your smart home devices, smart lights and your thermostat with your voice using Cortana’s new Connected Home feature. The speaker will initially be able to control smart home devices from SmartThings, Philips Hue, Nest, Wink, and Insteon, but Microsoft is working with more companies to bring support for more smart home devices.
Harman Kardon Invoke will be available in the United States from the Microsoft Store, Best Buy, and HarmanKardon.com for $199 on October 22.