Microsoft’s Cortana Speaker Plans Come in to the Light

Posted on April 10, 2017 by Brad Sams in Hardware with 23 Comments

For far too long, I have been holding out that Microsoft would release a speaker that was powered by Cortana. Considering that the digital personal assistant is just about everywhere (desktop, mobile, and console), having a dedicated box for it is the next logical move.

When Microsoft and Harman Kardon showed off their teaser video of what looks to be an Amazon Echo but powered by Cortana, many were hoping that this meant the device would be released in the near future. But, here we are, four months later and we still are not able to buy the device.

Late last week, Microsoft released a new version of Windows 10 to Insiders and this was the first release from the new RS3 branch. Tucked away inside this build is a new feature for Cortana to ‘Setup A Cortana Speaker’ that gives us a better look at the upcoming experience offered by these devices.

To little surprise, you will setup the speaker inside of the Cortana app on Windows 10 which once initiated, will search for the device on your local network. As we can see in the tutorial images provided by MSPoweruser, the Harman Kardon Cortana speaker will be called Invoke.

Once the speaker is up and running, it will support all the Cortana features from the desktop like weather, your calendar, playing music, reminders and everything else you would expect from such a device. In addition, you will also be able to place Skype calls as well.

While all this information is good and gives me a small bit of hope that we will see these devices in the near future, the downside is that Redstone 3 is not expected to be released until later this year in the October/November timeframe. If this holds true, then the hardware like the Invoke may not be released until nearly a year after it was initially shown off.

Of course, Microsoft could push this Cortana update to the current release of Windows 10 but we don’t know if they plan to do that at this time. With that being said, at least the company is still moving forward with Cortana speakers and hopefully they arrive in time before Google Home and Amazon Echo take the majority of the available market share.

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