Microsoft & Harman Kardon take aim at Apple, Amazon & Google with 'Invoke' smartspeaker

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Microsoft and Harman Kardon on Monday officially revealed the Invoke, a device that will take on the Amazon Echo, Google Home, and Apple's rumored Siri-based device in the smartspeaker market.




The Invoke will be based on Microsoft's Cortana, and support functions around music, calendars, reminders, traffic, and news. Like its rivals smarthome control will be another key component, though it's not yet clear which platforms or accessories it will support.

The speaker will also natively support hands-free calling through Microsoft's Skype. To date, neither the Echo or the Home have had built-in calling functions, though those are rumored additions later this year.

In terms of hardware the Invoke will use far-field technology and seven microphones, like the Echo making it able to pick up voices from across a noisy room. Harman Kardon is promising superior sound output however, with three woofers, three tweeters, and and two passive radiators. The product also offer better build quality in the form of a metallic cabinet.




The Invoke should ship this fall as a U.S. exclusive, with pricing yet to be set. To set up the device people will be able to use Windows 10 or the Cortana app for iPhone and Android.

Apple's Siri speaker is likewise predicted to emphasize high-quality audio, featuring seven tweeters, one woofer, and/or the company's W1 wireless chip. It may also support AirPlay, and even run a variant of iOS. An announcement could take place as soon as this June's Worldwide Developers Conference.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 38
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,359member
    I wonder how many of the younger devotees of iPhones and Androids in the market have even heard of Microsoft?
  • Reply 2 of 38
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,995member
    I don't get why the Apple version would need the W1 chip.  Wouldn't it connect to Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth?  Would it be pairing to devices for some reason?
  • Reply 3 of 38
    pscooter63pscooter63 Posts: 939member
    Curiously named.  "Invoke" implies parliamentary procedure, legalese, or something religion-associated.

    Or maybe a strategy video game.

    king editor the grateargonaut
  • Reply 4 of 38
    macplusplusmacplusplus Posts: 1,888member
    MacPro said:
    I wonder how many of the younger devotees of iPhones and Androids in the market have even heard of Microsoft?
    They know Microsoft better than you because of Xbox. 
    Roger_FingasWLeefrankieavon b7calimike1watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 5 of 38
    rotateleftbyterotateleftbyte Posts: 1,150member
    Quote:-
    The Invoke should ship this fall as a U.S. exclusive, with pricing yet to be set.

    Sort of like the Kin and Zune then. Remind me how successful they were?


    watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 6 of 38
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,273member
    I want it. 
    techprod1gy
  • Reply 7 of 38
    So Microsoft invested in speaker that will be running on MacOS as well or they plan on "exclusive drivers"? I use some speakers from Harman Kardon including old USB, but they are supported. I bet Harman Kardon will not limit their market just limiting themselves to Microsoft. Skype also runs on MacOS and iOS (in fact it runs way better on MacOS than on Windows - forced to work on both systems daily with Skype).
    watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 8 of 38
    baederboybaederboy Posts: 23member
    If Apple wants to get into smartspeaker in the home they may still be able to wait until this fall. Especially if they improve Siri by then and have something like a touch bar / camera to augment voice interaction.
    Current entrants are all still in their infancy with support for US (and some U.K. & Germany). With Siri, Apple could roll out to China, Korea, Japan, Australia and most of Europe and North and South America. Nearly world-wide reach and special interface could be the Unique Selling Point. 
    edited May 2017 caliwatto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 9 of 38
    leavingthebiggleavingthebigg Posts: 1,154member
    It is interesting Microsoft has teamed up with Samsung's Harman Kardon to produce The Invoke to compete with Amazon and Google.
    calibigpicswatto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 10 of 38
    Once you have the assistant like Cortana, Siri, Assistant and Alexa, it seems like a connected speaker will be much easier to get right than, e.g. a watch. Still not sure MS has the legs to keep this going any longer than its other failures
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 38
    ddawson100ddawson100 Posts: 453member
    The Windows speech recognition is so freaking bad. I really wish they'd fix it there. It's utterly unusable.
    caliwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 38
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,911member
    It is interesting Microsoft has teamed up with Samsung's Harman Kardon to produce The Invoke to compete with Amazon and Google.
    Likely in the works long before that deal was announced and certainly before it closed.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 38
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,164member
    Funny how Apple is always a ‘target’ even if they have no product to sell.
    brucemcStrangeDaysavon b7caliSolipscooter63anomeleavingthebiggwatto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 14 of 38
    "Invoke, I hereby invoke thee! Misunderstand my bidding!"
    radarthekatwatto_cobraargonautevilution
  • Reply 15 of 38
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,532member
    crowley said:
    I don't get why the Apple version would need the W1 chip.  Wouldn't it connect to Wi-Fi rather than Bluetooth?  Would it be pairing to devices for some reason?
    Hard to tell with an unannounced product:)  In terms of how a connected speaker/Siri assistant would connect to Internet, then yes that would be Wi-Fi.  But there is no reason to think, as a speaker, it would be limited from connecting to one's Apple devices (play different music than Apple Music for that household).  The W1 chip would make any pairings easier (in theory).  We also don't know the full capabilities of this W1 chip that might be enabled in future s/w.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 16 of 38
    brucemcbrucemc Posts: 1,532member

    baederboy said:
    If Apple wants to get into smartspeaker in the home they may still be able to wait until this fall. Especially if they improve Siri by then and have something like a touch bar / camera to augment voice interaction.
    Current entrants are all still in their infancy with support for US (and some U.K. & Germany). With Siri, Apple could roll out to China, Korea, Japan, Australia and most of Europe and North and South America. Nearly world-wide reach and special interface could be the Unique Selling Point. 
    Of course Apple is not late, assuming they are indeed targeting this market.  No one knows how many units the competition has sold, but no evidence points to significant numbers.  MP3 players were on the market for a few years before Apple introduced the iPod.

    Apple is 2nd in the streaming music service market (well ahead of Amazon and Google), is the leader with Siri in terms of language support in voice assistants, and has the most established global retail presence.  Whether and how they might compete we shall see, but they absolutely can.
    watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 17 of 38
    NY1822NY1822 Posts: 601member
    scouring the net, Amazon has sold between 8-9.5 million Echos (including lower tiered Dot).
    http://www.investopedia.com/news/amazon-has-sold-82-million-echo-speakers-so-far-amzn-goog/
    caliargonaut
  • Reply 18 of 38
    calicali Posts: 3,495member
    How do you compete against an unannounced product?

    lkrupp said:
    Funny how Apple is always a ‘target’ even if they have no product to sell.

    It could just be the media talking but it's true competitors panic before an Apple release like those crappy smart watches that tried to beat Apple Watch to market.
    anomewatto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 19 of 38
    SoliSoli Posts: 9,193member
    lkrupp said:
    Funny how Apple is always a ‘target’ even if they have no product to sell.
    That just shows how powerful Apple's brand is.
    watto_cobraargonaut
  • Reply 20 of 38
    suddenly newtonsuddenly newton Posts: 13,762member
    MacPro said:
    I wonder how many of the younger devotees of iPhones and Androids in the market have even heard of Microsoft?
    What's a Microsoft?
    watto_cobraargonaut
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