Microsoft’s Cortana-Powered Speaker to Rival Amazon Echo and Google Home

By Danny Smith, | May 16, 2017

Invoke is the first intelligent speaker to feature Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant. (YouTube)

Invoke is the first intelligent speaker to feature Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant. (YouTube)

Microsoft recently announced that its internet-connected speaker would debut this fall. Microsoft teamed up with Harman Kardon to make this device. Harman Kardon is a manufacturer of home and car audio equipment. The Microsoft speaker is called the "Invoke."

According to Trusted Reviews, Invoke is the first intelligent speaker to feature Microsoft's Cortana voice assistant. The device is expected to rival speakers like Google's Home and Amazon's Echo. Users can easily ask Cortana to play music, check the traffic, set calendar schedules, listen to the latest news and events, control smart home thermostats and much more.

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Some speakers tend to sound cheap and tinny. But the partnership between Microsoft and Harmon Kardon means that Invoke will not have these problems. The Microsoft Invoke speaker will have seven microphones to listen to users.

According to CNBC, Microsoft added a built-in Skype feature to the Invoke speaker. With the Skype feature, users are allowed to call cellphones and other Skype users with the device. This feature is not available on Google Home or Amazon Echo.

The Skype integration feature means that the Microsoft Invoke speaker can function as a slick-looking speaker phone and receive Skype calls too. This makes the Microsoft Invoke speaker potentially more useful than either the Amazon Echo or Google Home.

More details about the Invoke speaker and other devices are expected to be revealed at the Microsoft's annual Build developer conference. Invoke and other speakers with voice assistants appear to only exist to collect information from its users.

It is easier for companies to sell something to users if there is a lot of information on the user. There was a case where Google irritated a user by delivering unsolicited ads for Disney's Beauty and the Beast. Also, Amazon Echo is said to take note of what kinds of products are bought when the user orders them via Alexa.


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