The Harman Kardon-made Invoke speaker will be released later this month, Brad Sams of Petri reported on Wednesday, citing officials from the audio equipment company. The Internet of Things device has been in the "coming soon" phase since May and while no firm reasons for its apparent delay were given, it seems that consumers in the United States will be able to purchase it in or around the third week of this month, Mr. Sams said. Other recent reports point to a $150 price tag but it's still unclear whether the device is meant for a wider release or if its potential global debut depends on its commercial performance in Harman Kardon's home country.
The speaker itself was designed in collaboration with Microsoft and is powered by the company's artificial intelligence companion Cortana, being able to assist you with everyday tasks like managing calendar appointments, reminders, and alarms, checking news and weather, and controlling your other IoT devices. The offering also ships with three woofers and an equal number of tweeters, being designed to deliver 360-degree sound and fill the room with rich audio regardless of its exact position. Two passive radiators are also part of the Invoke package, with Harman Kardon previously revealing that the firm designed them to maximize the bass potential of the relatively small device. As the speaker supports Cortana in a native manner, it also has access to the digital assistant's features related to Microsoft's other products like Skype integration and Groove Music support. If the $150 price tag proves to be accurate, the Invoke will directly compete with the original Google Home and recently announced Echo revision, both of which are somewhat cheaper but still designed as members of the mid-range smart speaker market segment.
Harman Kardon is presently also developing another intelligent audio device in collaboration with its parent Samsung Electronics and the two have previously confirmed that their upcoming offering is set to debut at some point next year. The 2018 smart speaker is likely to be powered by Samsung's AI assistant Bixby and be natively integrated into the company's vast ecosystem, though it remains to be seen whether it proves to be a competitive product that can challenge the currently dominant Echo lineup, or even just come close to the growing popularity of Google's IoT devices.