Harman Kardon’s Invoke is the first Cortana-enabled smart speaker. The Invoke will try to compete head-to-head with the Amazon Echo and Google Home, but will the product offer something new and better for users?
The Invoke’s design feels high-end, and it features a smooth-turning volume control and touchpad located on top of the device. The speaker has an outer metal casing and is available in graphite and pearl/silver. By simply saying “Hey, Cortana,” you can make phone calls, play music, and ask questions. Office 365 and Outlook can be connected to the device, giving the user an opportunity to check their calendar and set reminders by using Cortana.
Harman Kardon is a respected company when it comes to sound quality, and that quality can be found in the Invoke. The speaker has three compact woofers, three tweeters, and two passive radiators. Music streaming is currently limited, and you will need a Spotify premium account in order to play a specific song. iHeartRadio and TuneIn are both supported with the system, but Pandora is currently not.
The Invoke currently supports SmartThings, Philips Hue, Nest, Wink, and Insteon, allowing you to control the thermostat, lights, switches, and outlets. The most interesting part of the Invoke’s debut is the announcement for a future partnership between Amazon and Microsoft to make Alexa and Cortana both available on the same device. Users will be able to say “Cortana, open Alexa.” The partnership is supposed to help fill any gaps for one another.
The Invoke is facing tough competition, but it is headed in the right direction. The sound quality mixed with the ability to access Office 365 and Outlook will attract fans of Microsoft, Cortana, and Windows.