Invoke Speaker Is Microsoft's Answer to Amazon Echo

A new AI-slinging speaker is rolling into the living room. After a brief tease last year, Microsoft and Harman Kardon today revealed the Invoke, a Microsoft Cortana-powered speaker coming this fall to challenge Amazon Echo and Google Home.

The Invoke's glowing, touch-friendly top will make it familiar to those who know Amazon's Echo. Image: Harman KardonThe Invoke's glowing, touch-friendly top will make it familiar to those who know Amazon's Echo. Image: Harman Kardon

First teased in late 2016, the Invoke will free Cortana from PCs and smartphones, allowing you to control your music and smart home with your voice. Available in black and silver, the Invoke's cylindrical body makes it look like a taller, more tapered Amazon Echo, complete with a glowing, twistable top piece.

The speaker will offer all of Cortana's regular features, and its major differentiator is the ability to make and receive calls with Skype, which Alexa cannot assist with. The other major feature of the Invoke is its sound quality, as the web page announcing the speaker claims it utilizes "Harman Kardon's audio heritage" to reveal "every beautiful detail in your music."

The Invoke will be available in black and silver, and feature Cortana. Image: Harman KardonThe Invoke will be available in black and silver, and feature Cortana. Image: Harman Kardon

Of course, jumping into the AI-speaker arena won't be easy for Microsoft, as Amazon is already exerting firm dominance with over 70 percent of the the market, according to a recent study. As for what's left: Google's got 23.8 percent of the business, with its Home speaker, meaning smaller companies add up to only 5.6 percent.

MORE: Google Home vs. Amazon Echo: Smart Speaker Face-off

The Invoke could have some serious competition when it launches -- not just from the Echo and Google Home, but from Amazon's rumored touchscreen Alexa device that leaked in a set of photos last week.

We expect to see more of the Invoke at this week's Microsoft's Build conference, so stay tuned to Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag for the latest from the event.

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