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Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered connected speaker just got leaked (Update: now official)

Harman Kardon's voice-activated speaker has now been officially announced by the manufacturer.

Published onMay 8, 2017

Update: Following the news from earlier today regarding the Harman Kardon Invoke leak, the manufacturer has now officially announced the connected speaker.

“Invoke, with Cortana, is a voice-activated speaker that can play your favorite music, manage calendars and activities, set reminders, check traffic, deliver the latest news and much more,” wrote Harman in a press release. “With Skype integration, you can make calls to cell phones, landlines, and other Skype-enabled devices. You can also control your smart home devices using voice to do things like turn out the lights or control the temperature.”

As for the audio capabilities, the Invoke will make use of three woofers and three tweeters to provide 360-degree sound, as well as two passive radiators to bolster the bass response. Meanwhile, the Invoke also comes with Harman’s Sonique far-field voice recognition tech, which employs seven microphones to help recognize voice commands even in high ambient noise. Given Harman’s pedigree, you would expect the Invoke to sound better than the rest of the voice-activated speaker competition.

In the press release, Michael Mauser, President of the Lifestyle and Audio Division at Harman, said: “Voice-enabled technology is the future; by teaming up with Microsoft, we’re delivering on our promise of elevating a connected life through smart technology, superior sound and the stunning design that is Harman Kardon’s hallmark.”

We still don’t have a price or exact release date, but we do have one more piece of information regarding availability: the device will go on sale only in the US at select retailers and Microsoft stores. We’ll let you know when we learn more.

Previous coverage: Harman Kardon’s voice-activated speaker, powered by Microsoft Cortana, was teased at the end of last year. The new device, which is now confirmed to be titled Invoke, is set to go up against the Google Home and Amazon Echo for control of your homes. Today, we’ve gotten our first real look at the product via the official Harmon Kardon website.

In a page which has now been taken down (view the cached version here), a handful of details and images of the device were revealed. Like the Google Home and Amazon Echo, the Invoke is a cylindrical, or near-cylindrical, connected speaker which produces 360-degree sound. The device itself features a metal cabinet which looks like it will be available in two colors: black and silver.

As to what features it will offer, the Invoke description on the website says: “Enhance every moment with captivating sound, voice control your music and smart home, make and receive hands-free calls with Skype, get answers to your questions, and more.”

Apart from that, we don’t have much else to go on with the Invoke so far. The lack of information on the landing page suggests it wasn’t the final version, but so far the Invoke looks promising. If nothing else, it will be exciting to see what Cortana can bring to the fast-growing world of connected speakers.

Meanwhile, the Amazon Echo is believed to be getting an upgrade soon with a new version featuring a touchscreen — a product which could steal attention from the Harman Kardon Invoke if they’re announced around the same time.

The Invoke is listed as coming “this fall” on the cached web page and will likely be shown off in a couple of days at The Microsoft Build conference. Pricing and regional availability details weren’t mentioned on the website.

What are your current thoughts on the Cortana-powered Invoke? Let us know in the comments.

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