In the continuous race to see who can release the best digital assistant, A.I. equipped speakers are launching left and right into the market. Amazon has their new Echo speaker (Alexa) they recently announced; Samsung has announced they are moving into the same market with Bixby (2.0); Google has their new Home Mini speaker; and now Microsoft will have their own as well thanks to Harman Kardon with the new Invoke Speaker.
We have spoken about it in the past as they took their time making their way in, making sure it wasn’t a rushed product (Harman Kardon does have known practices in quality assurance after all). Now, the wait is over as the speaker will be releasing this month on October 22nd.
It will feature Microsoft’s Cortana assistant, already available on PCs, tablets, smartphones (including iOS and Android devices) and the Xbox One consoles. This finally allows Microsoft to enter the speaker race as well while bringing additional focus to their own A.I. as they spread it to so many platforms (just like Samsung is aiming for).
Combined with Harman Kardon’s reputation of exceptional sound, they are promising an impressive 360-degree experience three direct-radiating woofers, three direct-radiating tweeters and two passive radiators–as well as their Sonique far-field voice recognition technology that uses seven different microphones. Like many of the other speakers, it will offer support for a number of online music streaming services like Spotify Premium, TuneIn and iHeartRadio, with additional services like Pandora coming in the near future. You will also be able to control other smart devices around the house, check on a flight, interact with your Fitbit data, spend hours asking it questions, and more. Plus, one of the most noticeable features is the ability to use Skype to make phone calls using nothing but your voice.
The new speaker will be available in two different colors, including White (aka “Pearl Silver”) and Black (aka “Graphite Black”), and retail for $199.95. It will be available via multiple online and offline locations, including the Microsoft Store, Best Buy, and of course Harman Kardon’s website.