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Microsoft Cortana-Powered Speaker Challenges Amazon's Echo With Skype Calls

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Harman Kardon's Invoke speaker, the Microsoft Cortana-powered answer to the Google Home and Amazon Echo, will ship this fall according to a preview page with the first official images of the tabletop device.

Two colors. As Brad hinted at, the Invoke will come in two color choices: Graphite (Black) and Pearl Silver (White). "You can also control your smart home devices [from select providers] using voice to do things like turn out the lights or control the temperature".

The new Devices submenu within Cortana advertises how to set up the new Invoke speaker, connecting it to popular music apps including Microsoft Groove, iHeartRadio, Pandora, TuneIn, and Spotify. Microsoft, Cortana and Skype are trademarks of the Microsoft group of companies. The device will be capable of three primary tasks - playing music, making and receiving calls via Skype, and giving Cortana a list of voice commands similar to what rivals in the space have offered using their own assistant algorithms.

It will interact with any of your Windows 10 devices (PC, phone, tablet, etc), where you will be able to set up and interact with Cortana's features. Additionally, a survey done by RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney found Google's brand awareness in the U.S.to be about 80% of Alexa's, despite it being a relatively nascent release. The Invoke has a seven-microphone far-field listening array like the Echo's, but it also includes three woofers and three tweeters, as opposed to Echo's one of each. By partnering with Skype (which, like Cortana, is owned by Microsoft), the Invoke will support Skype, phone and landline calls.

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What do you think about Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana?

They plan on launching the speaker this fall (2017), where it will be available at some of your favorite stores as well as online from places like Amazon.

Harman Kardon and Microsoft unveiled the Invoke today. A statement from Michael Mauser, president of the Lifestyle Audio Division at Harmon Kardon, expresses the company's excitement about working with Microsoft on this new home assistant.

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