Cortana is Entering the Speaker Space, Thanks to Harman Kardon

May 9, 2017, By Sanjeev Ramachandran

Ever since Amazon’s Echo speakers started its euphoric ride, there were obvious talks of its rivals coming up with a similar device. Google has already entered the space with its Google Home speakers, and rumors are that Apple too will be joining the foray sooner.

But it was the absence of Microsoft’s name among those rumors that raised the eyebrows, despite its Cortana being an equally-talked personal assistant among smartphones. But thanks to peripheral manufacturer Harman Kardon that we now know that Microsoft hasn’t been staying lulled.

Harman Kardon has revealed some info about its upcoming speaker called Invoke, and surprisingly, it will be Cortana which will power up the AI prowess of the speaker. That will finally have the personal assistant pitted against Alexa and Google Assistant in the speaker domain.

Not just that, Harman Kardon has also revealed that the device will come out sooner than we expect. According to the preview page, which also gives us glimpses of its new tabletop device, the Invoke speaker will be shipped as early as fall this year.

Being powered by Cortana, one can naturally expect the device to be coupled with a host of Microsoft features. Those include ability to make and receive calls with Skype and music stream capabilities via Microsoft Groove. More abilities can be expected to shape up ahead of its shipping date, but the core priority would be to enhance Cortana in getting things done.

Microsoft’s jump into speaker space comes quite surprising despite its partnership with Harman Kardon being announced last year. But back then, the partnership was expected to nurture Cortana’s IoT endeavors that would be rather confined to connected cars instead of homes. The leap on to home speaker segment will sure stir up the segment with the likes of Apple expected to join the bandwagon right this year.

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