Earlier today, we reported about new references to "Cortana Speaker" appearing in Windows 10. This led to speculation of a new Cortana-centric device on the way from Redmond.
However, we already know about one device that is not only powered by Microsoft's digital assistant, but which is also being released this year. The Harman Kardon speaker has reportedly been christened 'Invoke' and, according to a new report, has built-in Skype integration.
In case you're wondering what the device is all about, we'll let Harman Kardon tease it in the video below:
MSPoweruser reports that in addition to Skype integration, the device will offer the ability to control music from third-party music streaming services such as iHeartRadio, as well as Microsoft's own Groove Music. The device will also allow users to do basic tasks such as setting up alarms, managing your schedule, adding things to your to-do lists and hopefully, won't advertise Disney films. The Skype integration is a key differentiator for these speakers as none of its competitors sport similar functionality yet.
Being cross-platform, the digital assistant will allow you to use the speakers on any device without the need of a Windows PC - Android, iOS, and even Windows phones may be able to control it. Invoke's hardware features a 'halo' of light akin to its direct competitor, Amazon Echo, and aesthetically emulates Cortana when it's active. The gif below shows the animation in action:
The device is likely to be a premium one, and we don't expect it to be quite as affordable as its mainstream competitors, Amazon Echo ($180) and Google Home ($129). However, this sudden movement in Microsoft's home assistant technology plans might be an indication of more devices with Cortana support on the way - maybe even something from the big M itself.