It seems that Microsoft is really putting the heat on Google, among other competitors. Just days after it unveiled its Windows 10 S answer to Chrome OS and the first batch of Chromebook rivals, the company is partially unveiling its take on the smart home speaker niche market. For this round, it has partnered with the famed Harman Kardon to create Invoke, your premium, and most likely expensive, Cortana in a can.
Invoke hasn’t really been much of a secret by now, though the landing page for the speaker still does reveal some new things and confirm others. For one, we can now see it in all its cylindrical glory. Or at least the presentable parts. It isn’t as straight a cylinder as the Amazon Echo and almost looks like the amalgamation of an Echo and a Google Home.
Its most distinctive feature is one that you won’t immediately see, unless you were staring at it from above. There you will see a light ring that will immediately call Cortana to mind. Of course, that’s because it doea have Cortana running inside. And everything Cortana can do, this Invoke speaker can as well.
Which brings us to one feature that both Amazon and Google are still in the process of trying to implement: voice calls. It’s a bit of a cheat on Invoke, though. You’re basically just channeling Skype.
Invoke’s other trump card comes from its brand. Being a Harman Kardon product, it’s expected to sound better than any of the smart home speaker solutions today. That brand, however, will most likely come at a literal price. That said, Amazon and Google have plenty of time to catch up, as Invoke is still slated for a Fall launch.