With Amazon and Google blowing up the industry with their voice-assisted AI hardware over the past couple years, you knew it wouldn’t be long until others would want a piece of the market. Rumors and leaked images suggested that Microsoft wanted in the game with Cortana, but would rely on partners to bring its voice AI to the public.
Like many times before, Microsoft shown promise in an area, but seemingly got too distracted by other shiny things like Azure, Office 365, and Windows 10 to move the needle forward with Cortana. Cortana is truly a robust and feature-rich voice-AI, but sadly has been shoved to the background due to efforts and focus in other areas. Cortana exists on every Windows 10 device out there, but stats suggest that she’s rarely used for voice commands. But, with Microsoft quitting the smartphone market, Cortana-enabled devices are diminishing quickly.
The once-rumored Harman Kardon “Invoke” speaker has just been officially outed in hopes it may help Cortana in a burgeoning and increasingly crowded market. The announcement is extra timely, too, as Microsoft is rumored to talk (if not unveil) its Cortana Skill kit to developers at BUILD this week. But, can Microsoft make actual inroads in this market? Probably not.
The official Invoke page: http://www.harmankardon.com/invoke.html
On the Invoke page, you can sign-up to be notified through email when the speaker is available for purchase. Release is schedule for Fall 2017.
Microsoft’s announcement: Harman Kardon Invoke featuring Cortana: Captivating sound meets personal digital assistant
This device is available in the US only. Cortana voice activation works with select music services and home automation providers. Set up requires Cortana app for Windows 10 PC or phone (with the Windows 10 Creators Update), Android or iPhone (requires Android version 4.1.2 or higher, or iPhone 4 with iOS 8.0 or higher).