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Harman Kardon's Invoke Cortana speaker poses for the camera at the FCC

Harman Kardon's Cortana-powered Invoke speaker was officially announced in May, but information on the device has been scant since. Now, however, the device has made a trip to the FCC, which has revealed (via MSPU) some new specifications, the Invoke's user manual, and some new pictures.

According to the Invoke's user manual, it supports AAC, MP3, Vorbis, FLAC, WMA and WAV audio formats. In what is probably no surprise, both Bluetooth 4.1 and 802.11ac wireless are supported as well. More interestingly, the Invoke packs a total of 6 speakers, including 3 45mm woofers and 3 13mm dome tweeters. Lastly, the Invoke comes in at 9.5-inches tall and weighs 2.3 pounds.

Aside from pictures and measurements of the device in-person, a diagram labeling and showing the position of its various buttons is available as well. Most interesting is the top portion of the device, which is a touch area that also lights up when Cortana is listening, as seen in Harman Kardon's initial teaser. And while you can interact with the Invoke with only your voice, the touch area will also let you do things like answer or end Skype calls, stop music, or turn off an alarm with just a tap.

There's no price or precise release date set for the Harman Kardon Invoke just yet, but the company did reveal its target timeframe is sometime this fall. We're also expecting to see Cortana speakers from other manufacturers, including HP which gave us an early peek at its efforts during Computex.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the Editor in Chief for Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl. Got a hot tip? Send it to daniel.thorp-lancaster@futurenet.com.

23 Comments
  • I'm not feeling it.  I expected it to look nicer or cooler or elegant.  This looks like it was designed in an afternoon by some interns.  This is the 21st Century and it is still using a brick in the power cord.   LAME.
  • there also a dark version look nicer and plus when it no you get the Cortana Visualization
  • Have to agree on the power brick issue. It seems the DC power coord is so short, you won't even be able to hide it and it will just have to stay next to the speaker. Definitely ruins it all. Wired ethernet with PoE (Power over Ethernet) could provide a clean solution to avoid power bricks, improve power delivery (more efficient central power supply for all IoT devices), network reliability, and reduce wireless bandwidth use. Since we need a wire anyway, might as well provide everything through that wire, but it seems consumer products manufacturers haven't discovered that 14 years old technology yet.
  • Most people's houses aren't wired for Ethernet. Not everyone lives in a single 6x6 room.
  • Some EU countries already made horizontal cabling in new houses mandatory, the future is domotics, IoT and low-power delivery.
    In many buildings here, WiFi doesn't get through walls enough to cover even just a small appartment with a single access-point.
    Not everyone lives in a ranch made of wood. Requirements can depend on country, and adding PoE to a device wouldn't impair your use, so I don't understand the rude 6x6 room comment.
  • I was just following your tone. No offense intended and I retract that portion of the comment. Unbelievable that EU countries mandate such things. Freedom in this world truly is shrinking everyday. So sad to see it happening in the USA with the rise of the socialists here. Soon there will be no freedom left, only government mandates and endless amounts of rules. Anyway...this product is yet another me-too attempt by Microsoft and partners that will likely fail. MS really needs to innovate and stop copying.
  • Most people here rent appartments or houses. Governments make energy and communication infrastructure mandatory according to population requests to improve their quality of life. This is the evolution of the rules that forced all bedroom to be at least big enough for bed and wardrobe, all rooms to have windows to get natural light, and all appartments to be built above ground level. Scary how your rich 1% managed to make you believe that fairly taxing them to cover your health, retirement and unemployment security is against your freedom. This is not the place for politics, but socialism isn't the bad system you're led to believe it is. It's only about fairly redistributing the profits instead of letting the richest pressure your politicians into stealing from your pockets to make them even richer. As with many things, going to the extremes is bad, but letting some people starve in the streets or die from lack of medical care when others are harvesting enough money to prevent it can only be called murder... and people rigging the economy and politics to achieve it should be on trial for their crimes.
  • This can be a place for whatever we want it to be! I don't see discussing socialism vs freedom as politics, but as discussing life itself! The thing is, not everyone wants or needs Cat5e cabling, to use this simple example, yet those governments are forcing it -- and the costs associated with its design implementation, and ongoing maintenance -- on everyone. And these people renting and, therefore, paying for someone's ideal of the future are not the "1% rich." Freedom to choose is what makes my life happy. Mandates and rules make my life miserable.
  • This is why most of the developed world is far beyond the US in infrastructure. Especially when it comes to anything with media delivery. Why shouldn't new construction have Ethernet run along side electricity and plumbing by code? How in the hell is that affecting your "freedom"? that's pushing progress forward.
  • It's like this: I have a finite amount of time (also known as my life). I am free (in the USA) to choose to spend my time as I see fit. I have chosen to spend some of my time working so that I can pay for goods and services that I want. I DO NOT want to pay -- that is, trade in some of my life -- for goods and services that others want (your media delivery infrastructure). Or in the original example cat5 wiring in my house. Get it now?
  • @lippidp, you are exactly right. It is amazing the ignorance of people who don't grasp at all how every law and regulation (excepting those to protect people's existence and posessions from assault or theft by others), even if genuinely well intended, takes away freedom, reduces innovation, and is effectively a tax on the population that hurts everyone. If ethernet were valuable to have in every home, then homebuilders would include it in every case. They don't because most people don't care and don't believe it's worth the cost. As a result, innovative entrepreneurs saw an opportunity with WiFi, completely leafrogging the need for wiring. That's the result of freedom and capitalism. If I were building a new home (instead of living in a 200+ year old farm house), I would want it wired with Cat6 or fiber for Gbps perforamnce through the house, because there are some benefits to that over WiFi, and I'd pay for it, but that's me. To suggest that everyone should be forced to pay higher costs for that is just awful. Just because I want something, doesn't mean it should be forced on everyone.
  • Let's go for drinks. First round is on me!
  • I did manage to wire the Ethernet cable around the outside the house.  A little work, but I'm getting 200Mbps download for the PCs, smart TVs, Xbox One and HP Desk Dock (Continuum).  The investment is well worth it.  When MS releases their HomeHub app, all my PCs can turn into 'voice operated Personal Assistant' when not in use.  
  • Normal consumers haven't discovered it either. 30 years ago I wired my house with Cat5, and even have a patch panel in the basement by the switch.  Today, everything is Wifi. 'Nobody' has ethernet running to where these things are going to sit, and expecting them to install it and buy switches/routers that support POE would kill it. Not saying it is right, but that's just how things have evolved. Printers don't even come with ethernet anymore, just USB, WiFi, and AirPrint.
  • Basically its a less functional Echo. I used to use Cortana loads but MS have fallen so far behind its been replaced by Google Assistant and Alexa
  • I hate to agree, but I do not think Cortana will ever be able to catch up to google assistant or Alexa, at least in terms of reliability. Alexa always responds and the overwhelming majority of time, got right what I was trying to convey. Maybe it has to do with the quality of mics used. The Kinect is my only device which responds to hey Cortana somewhat reliably.
  • Mics quality definitely make a huge difference. Kinect v2 and other microphone arrays work well, typical webcam mics degrade the recognition even when speaking close to them. These speakers designed for VUI (voice user interface) are built with microphone arrays and will probably be much more reliable even from across the room.
  • Cortana could play major roles in the home automation down the road.  It is supported on all the OS platforms.  Johnson Controls just showed their new Cortana operated thermostat which is very promising.  We will see a lot of great Windows IoT devices showing up to control all the home automation applications soon.  Cortana operated HomeHub will become a home command center when released.  I rather speak the same language throughout the house.
  • Now that's funny, because I have to turn stuff off to avoid dueling Cortanas, in my experience. I constantly have more than one device (PC, laptop, phone) respond when I invoke her. Not disputing your experience, just noting mine is different. I think she does fine compared to Alexa and Siri when it comes to general questions and some minor 'assistant' tasks. She has the advantage of being buried in the OS that supports most of my personal life, contacts, calendar, mail, etc. as Siri does on iPhones. I do think she falls behind when it comes to integration with other products, Insteon, Harmony, etc. I only have Google experience on a phone (Pixel) but find the recognition quite impressive, and the responses very good and relevent. Economics drove me to Echo Dots to implement the home voice control system, and it is surprisingly useful and convenient. I put the Invoke in the category of the Echo and Apple HomePod, there is distinct targetting of entertainment with consideration of sound quality. Not sure how Google Home measures up there. It appears that the market research has lead these companies to believe there is a market for a higher end sound system that has Intelligent Assistent features, as opposed to just having the IA. I think that the Invoke is targetted at that market, and happens to be using Cortana as opposed to Alexa, Siri, Google to do the IA aspects. Remains to be seen if the sound is good whether people care who they ask to play Reggae on Spotify. 
  • Also hate to agree, but Microsoft needed to throw their weight at this - personally, Cortana is just too unreliable - I seem to get web results for almost everything. (Mobile, Desktop and, oh my - don't mention the Xbox *cold shivers*... not to even mention the issue of having these devices in the same room when Cortana is activated.... #handoff anyone?) Yet again, they led the field only too take to long to get to market - ending up being left behind.
  • I have to agree with the assertion that Microsoft will have a very hard time catching up with Alexa. With so many skills already and interactions with smart devices, it may be too late. With Cortana on Xbox one I thought I'd have an assistant who could actually work like an echo. Unfortunately Cortana on Xbox one is an order of magnitude slower. I've had to disable it after waiting 15 seconds for Cortana to "pause" a movie. And trying to control a Nest thermostat with only windows 10 is a disaster. With Alexa, it works out of the box. MS had a chance, especially with Xbox and Cortana but as is often the case, they were a year early with the tech and a year late to the consumer.
  • I do wonder: if MS concentrated on working on their developments and research - rather than showing them off; whether they might deliver a finished product faster than rival companies who take that (shown-off) idea and build their own (delivering it to market before MS).
  • @YKinase, I've never observed that. I have an older Xbox One that came with Kinect and voice commands are perfect and reasonably quick for me. I don't do a lot with voice control -- just turn on TV, turn off TV, launch games and occasionally Skype for living room video calls with our kids grandparents, pause and play TV, and sometimes ask Cortana for information, but everything happens quickly. I definitely wouldn't say it's instant, and faster would be better, but it's probably under 2 seconds each time. I'm not sure if there's something wrong with your particular system or if it's a regional thing (I'm in the US), but I can at least say that for some users, the experience is much better than what you've described.