Mi­crosoft Takes On Alexa With Har­man’s Cor­tana-Sup­ported Speaker

SmartHouse - - FIRST LOOK // Acer - Writ­ten by ROMA CHRIS­TIAN

Mi­crosoft plans to take on Ama­zon’s Alexa range with the re­lease of a Cor­tana-sup­ported smart speaker, de­vel­oped by Sam­sung sub­sidiary Har­man Kar­don.

The prod­uct named ‘In­voke’ will re­tail for US$199 and will feature Cor­tana’s lan­guage recog­ni­tion ca­pa­bil­ity, com­bined with Mi­crosoft’s own suite of pro­duc­tiv­ity and knowl­edge tools – in­clud­ing Skype which will al­low users to make calls to mo­biles and land­lines.

Har­man has in­formed Chan­nelNews its Cor­tana-sup­ported smart speaker will hit Aus­tralian shores around March 2018.

As such, the smart speaker will al­low in­di­vid­u­als to man­age their cal­en­dars, set re­minders, check traffic and lat­est news, plus much more.

Har­man Kar­don’s In­voke smart speaker will en­com­pass seven in­te­grated mi­cro­phones. Also in­te­grated will be Har­man’s Sonique far-field voice recog­ni­tion tech­nol­ogy.

In­voke will feature a pro­pri­etary 360-de­gree adaptive tech­nol­ogy, which will recog­nise all de­tails of voice com­mands.

Har­man’s beam form­ing, echo can­cel­la­tion and noise soft­ware al­go­rithms will en­able Cor­tana to clearly hear in­di­vid­u­als, even when sur­rounded by high am­bi­ent noise.

The prod­uct will be avail­able in Pearl Sil­ver and Graphite.

Mi­crosoft claims Cor­tana is ‘the most pro­duc­tive dig­i­tal as­sis­tant’, and cur­rently boasts a user base of more than 145 mil­lion peo­ple on PC and mo­bile de­vices.

Har­man’s Pres­i­dent of Life­style Au­dio Divi­sion, Michael Mauser, states of the part­ner­ship with Mi­crosoft:

“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”.

“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”.

Speak­ing of the part­ner­ship with Har­man, Jordi Ribas, CVP of AI Prod­ucts at Mi­crosoft states:

“This is our next step in bring­ing Cor­tana to even more de­vices to help users be more pro­duc­tive wher­ever they are”.

The smart speaker will re­quire the Cor­tana app for Win­dows 10 PC/ phone (with the Win­dows 10 Cre­ators Up­date), An­droid (ver­sion 4.1.2 or above) or an iPhone 4 or newer with iOS 8.0 and above.

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