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    May 8, 2017

    Cortana debuts as a smart speaker on Harmon Kardon’s Invoke

    Harmon Kardon has officially announced the Invoke; a smart speaker that will be the first such device to be powered by Microsoft’s Cortana.

    The smart speaker war is firing up – Amazon has been bulshy in developing new Echo offerings, Google continues to sell its Home units, and Apple is rumoured to be developing a Siri-led equivalent to these services. Now Microsoft has officially entered the arena with help from Harmon Kardon in the form of the Invoke.

    Harmon Kardon is, of course, the manufacturer of some of the most swanky speaker offerings to hit the consumer electronics market – and the Invoke follows a similar premise. The unit provides 360-degree sound thanks to its cylindrical form, and sports a design that’s left us salivating.

    Read: Microsoft’s CEO confirms that there’ll be more Windows Phones in the future

    Microsoft and Harmon Kardon first announced a partnership six months ago, and the fruit of that effort is the black or silver Invoke, which will leverage Microsoft’s applications and services to pit itself against offerings such as Amazon Echo and Google Home.

    Microsoft’s Cortana runs the show, and that means the inclusion of some very Redmond-flavoured utilities. Among them is the ability to make and recieve calls via Skype, while Cortana will naturally maintain the same notebook and service utility that’s found on Windows 10 PCs, the Xbox One, and other Microsoft efforts.

    Unfortunately, the Invoke is only set to become available for purchase later this year during the US Fall (South African Spring). The unit is scheduled for demonstration at Microsoft’s forthcoming Build conference, where we’ll likely get further information on its price tag and expected availability date.

    Read: Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop brings specs, fabric, and Windows 10 S

    What are your thoughts? Would you rather employ Google Home, Amazon Echo, or Harmon Kardon’s Invoke in your living room? Be sure to let us know your opinion in the comments below!

    Follow Bryan Smith on Twitter: @bryansmithSA

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