Updated: May 8, 2017 8:06:42 pm
Microsoft is eager to jump into the smart speaker segment as early as this week. The device, which could be launched at its annual developers conference, called BUILD, is developed by Harman Kardon. The audio company has already confirmed that it will launch a speaker called the Invoke through a dedicated webpage. Unfortunately however the webpage has been removed at the time of writing.
First spotted by Thurrott.com. the smart speaker has a design similar to that of Amazon Echo. It’s cylindrical in shape, and just like the Echo it provides 360-degree audio. Plus, the intelligent speaker can make and receive calls through Skype.
Microsoft’s voice assistant, named Cortana, will power the device. The voice assistant can be found on mobile devices and in the company’s Windows 10 operating system. Like Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant, Cortana can offer information on the weather, sports scores, track packages etc.
It’s no surprise to see that Microsoft is encouraging its partners to make a smart speaker. After the success of Amazon Echo, which was launched in 2014, the smart speaker market has come a long way. Even the search giant Google is selling a smart speaker, dubbed the Google Home, running on the company’s Google Assistant voice assistant.
Apple, the world’s most valuable technology company, also plans to enter the smart speaker segment with a premium offering. The Siri-powered speaker will allow users to stream music and control Internet of Things (IoT) around their homes. According to reports, Apple’s intention is to make a high-end “smart” speaker that will have multiple tweeters, a woofer and computing power at par with an “iPhone 6 or iPhone 6s”. KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo believes Apple will announce its smart speaker at its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) in June.