Voice Activation

Microsoft And Harman Team Up For Speaker Powered By Cortana

Microsoft is getting into the voice-activated personal assistant market, teaming up with Harman International, a wholly owned subsidiary of Samsung Electronics, to roll out a voice-activated speaker.

In a press release earlier Monday (May 8), Harman said it’s combining its expertise in audio with Microsoft’s intelligence built into its digital personal assistant Cortana to launch the Invoke speaker. The device like the other ones on the market from Amazon and Alphabet’s Google are aimed at busy people trying to juggle work and home life.

“We’re excited to work with Microsoft to develop a premium speaker that will deliver an exceptional experience to every customer using 360-degree Harman Kardon sound and the intelligence of Cortana,” said Michael Mauser, president, lifestyle audio division at Harman, in a press release announcing details of the new voice-activated personal assistant speaker. “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.”

Invoke, with Cortana, is a voice-activated speaker that can play music, manage calendars and activities, set reminders, check traffic, and deliver the latest news via voice-activated command. It also comes with Skype integration, which enables users to make calls. As with Amazon Echo, users can also control smart home devices using voice to do things like turn out the lights or control the temperature. Harman noted Cortana is already used by more than 145 million people across different devices.

“This is our next step in bringing Cortana to even more devices to help users be more productive wherever they are,” Jordi Ribas, CVP, AI products at Microsoft, said in the same press release. The Invoke is available in Pearl Silver (White) and Graphite (Black) and sports a sleek, modern design, the companies said.

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