Premium home audio manufacturer and Blackfire Research partner, Harman Kardon, has teamed up with Microsoft to take on Amazon, Google, and Apple in the smart speaker realm. The Harman Kardon Invoke is the newest smart speaker on the market. While Amazon’s Echo line of smart speakers have Alexa as it’s voice assistant, the Invoke’s voice AI is powered by Microsoft’s Cortana, which makes this an excellent smart speaker for Windows lovers. This is the first smart speaker to feature the Cortana voice assistant, which in the past has lived in Microsoft’s Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
The beautifully designed Invoke smart speaker is cylindrical in shape, with a narrow top and wide base (107 x 242mm), and comes in either pearl silver or graphite. The Invoke features 360-degree audio with three 45mm woofers, three 13mm dome tweeters, dual-band (2.4GHz/5Ghz) wireless connectivity, Bluetooth, and seven far-field microphones (which can be muted). Through voice commands, you can ask the Cortana powered smart speaker to stream music, set reminders, control paired smart devices, manage your Office 365 and/or Outlook calendar, ask questions, get the news, and make/receive hands-free calls via Skype to mobile phones, landlines and Skype-enabled devices. At the moment, the Invoke only works with three streaming services: Spotify, iHeartRadio, and TuneIn, but Microsoft has promised that Cortana will support Pandora sometime in the future.
And because the Invoke smart speaker is by Harman Kardon, you know the audio will sound great. In fact, according to Digital Trends, the Invoke’s audio performance beat out the Amazon Echo and The Google Home.