If you’re like me, you use Cortana to regularly add reminders, so you don’t miss anything at work or home. Which is why I’ve asked Cortana to remind me to check out the new voice-activated speaker our partners at Harman Kardon are releasing on Sunday, October 22 – the Harman Kardon Invoke with Cortana. Invoke will be available in-store and online at Microsoft Store, Best Buy, and online at HarmanKardon.com. Invoke comes in two color options, Pearl Silver (White) and Graphite (Black) and retails for $199.95 USD.
With more than 60 years of sound expertise, Harman is renowned for blending rich audio with best-in-class design. Crafted from premium materials, Invoke delivers powerful 360-degree sound from three direct-radiating woofers, three direct-radiating tweeters and two passive radiators. Invoke also features Harman’s Sonique far-field voice recognition technology with seven-microphones, ensuring that Cortana can hear you from any direction. Music services available at launch include Spotify Premium, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and we are working with Pandora to add their service in the near future.
At the heart of Invoke is Cortana, your personal digital assistant, helping you manage the competing demands of work and home so you can focus on what matters most to you. Microsoft has been on a long journey with Cortana, first on Windows 10 PC, then on Android and iOS, as well as embedding the Cortana experience in Skype on Xbox, spanning 148 million active users. We believe that your digital assistant should be available wherever you are, across your devices, and that’s why we are thrilled to bring the Cortana experience to an ambient speaker.
With Cortana on Invoke, you can voice control your music, as well as get answers to questions and connect to your Office 365 information. Invoke utilizes Microsoft’s speech recognition technology for commands and music controls, and integrates Office 365 productivity services so you can do things like, manage your schedule, check your calendar, set reminders, and more. For instance, if I have a partner meeting downtown I could ask Cortana on my Invoke where their office is, and she’d not only tell me but could send the directions to my phone in the Cortana mobile app. Or maybe I remember something I need to do when I get into work – a simple, “Hey Cortana, remind me to finish the budget report when I get to work,” will result in the reminder alerting me when I get to the office.
And it’s not just for work. I could do the same with a time-based reminder, such as, “Hey Cortana, remind me to watch the Knicks game tonight at 7pm,” and this reminder would chime on my Invoke speaker when I’m home.
With Cortana’s intelligence on Invoke, supported by the Bing knowledge graph, you can also hear the latest news and tweets, and get answers to questions; which happens a lot when I’m helping my kids with their homework – like finding out when George Washington was born.
Plus, with Skype on Invoke, you can easily stay connected with hands-free calling to your Skype and phone contacts, as well as local businesses. In addition to Skype to Skype calling, which will always be free, Invoke also features unlimited free outbound calling from the United States to mobile phones and landlines in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
You’ll also be able to control your smart home devices, including those from SmartThings, Nest, Philips Hue, Wink, and Insteon. And with the Cortana Skills Kit announced this past spring, a growing list of partners and developers are creating intelligent, personalized experiences for Cortana, including Capital One, Expedia, Fitbit, OpenTable, and others.
We’re excited to partner with Harman Kardon and bring Cortana to Invoke; adding to Cortana’s cross-device integration across Windows 10 PC, iPhone and Android, so you can stay on top of things wherever you need assistance.
This is an important step forward for Cortana, and we’ll be delivering more productivity features, such as managing your email hands-free (Office 365, Outlook.com and Gmail accounts) coming soon, as well as working with many more music, home automation, and skills partners to integrate their services with Cortana.
Make sure you ask Cortana to set a reminder for Invoke, available on October 22.
*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).