Harman Kardon, one of the audio brands to fall under the Harman umbrella, has officially announced the Invoke speaker. It's the first to use Microsoft's Cortana as its voice-controlled personal assistant.
Harman Kardon teased the existence of the speaker toward the end of 2016, but merely stated a speaker was coming and it would use Cortana. Although it did release a 30-second teaser video. The video shows what appears to be a screen on top that lights up when Cortana is activated. It's not clear if the screen can be used for anything else.
Now we have the full details. The speaker has a similar design to the Amazon Echo in that it's cylindrical, but from the images at least, it features a more premium, all-metal build.
Some of the features of the Invoke speaker are revealed on the product page, and include being able to make and receive Skype calls. This makes complete sense, seeing as the speaker uses Microsoft's smart assistant.
Everything pumped out the built-in speakers, whether it be voice calls or music, should sound good thanks to Harman Kardon's audio knowhow. Hidden behind its metal exterior you'll find three woofers and three tweeters to deliver 360-degree audio.
With regards to Cortana's capabilities, Harman Kardon simply says you'll be able to "get things done". You'll be able to control your smart home devices and music using your voice, as you do with Amazon Echo and Google Home, as well as getting answers to questions. The Invoke will likely use the Bing search engine to deliver results.
Microsoft still hasn't said what services and smart home products are compatible with Cortana, or the price.
We'd expect the Invoke speaker to cost around the Amazon Echo's £150 asking price, although given the more premium build it could be more.
Harman Kardon has at least told us the Invoke speaker will arrive in "Fall 2017", but for now will only be available in the US with no word on if and when it will be available in the UK.