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A Cortana-powered Harman Kardon speaker is coming in 2017

It looks like Amazon Echo and Google Home won't be the only smart speakers in town for long. Microsoft has released a teaser video that shows off an upcoming Harman Kardon premium speaker with digital smarts powered by Cortana. While there isn't much more info, you can check out the video below for a quick peek at what's coming.

The speaker isn't due until 2017, but the presence of voice-activated Cortana smarts indicates it'll be quite similar to Amazon Echo's Alexa. The teaser only shows Cortana being asked to play music and create a reminder, but it's not hard to imagine that you'll be able to do many of the things Cortana can already do on PC and Mobile, such as conduct quick searches or create lists.

A firm release date is, of course, unknown right now. However, it wouldn't be too surprising if we were to hear much more during CES, which is right around the corner in January. And it looks like we should expect Cortana to start popping up in a number of other places as well, as Harman Kardon is just one partner in the the launch of the Cortana Devices SDK that opens up the assistant's smarts to devices of all kinds.

Thanks, Attila B., for the tip!

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.

110 Comments
  • While im excited about this, let's be honest. All us die hards are going to dump money on these, and Nutella is going to kill it before the year is even up, leaving us with no support and no updates to iron the glitches out (Microsoft Band 2 anyone?).
  • "Let's be honest"... How can Nadella kill a product made by a third-party company? There's nothing to kill. It uses Windows 10, likely IoT, and open APIs. You could probably make a shoddy version yourself using Raspberry Pi 2 or the new Intel Joule system.
  • Oh, ****. I honestly read the article and must have missed that part. I thought it was a joint venture. My bad. Carry on, Daniel...nothing to see. (this is what happens when you have 12 hour work days)
  • lol, no worries. I think Microsoft is doing what Microsoft does: hoping OEMs can try and make different things to see what works. It could fail, absolutely, but eh, that's the price we pay. Personally, while it could be "neat" I think Cortana needs a long way to go before I'd really recommend this or find it useful. Fingers crossed some changes are coming.
  • I understand their tactic, but while their in house stuff is great, so many OEM products still fall far behind. After owning Surfaces, when going to look at new PC's and laptops it is really hard to get excited when looking at 99% of the non-Microsoft manufactured hardware.
  • Daniel - Do you think with Windows 10 being able to run on ARM processors and iOT that the Band 3 will be redesigned and put on the product roadmap?  I believe you were the one that mentioned MSFT cancelling the band 3 because they could not get full windows to run on it; however with the recent news of ARM and iOT this might very well be a possibility now.  
  • I know tech support agents are notorious for commenting about things they actually know nothing about (I mean, who doesn't, right?) but while chatting with MS support yesterday setting up a repair for my Band 2, they said the Band 3 was "possible" and they were "still hopeful" that one will be released soon.
  • Yeah, it's not quite dead or rather, there is some development left going on. To what end, I"m not sure.
  • Hard to say. There is some life left in Band 3 and MS Health is all I can say. They have not abandoned that segment.
  • The Band 3 will have another name. It's coming. Full Windows has nothing to do with it.
  • Hi Mr catfish. Can you give us a hint on when we would be expecting this windows wearables device?
  • Daniel, do you think Cortana can be a good as Alexa by the time this is released? I would buy this because of the H/K development right away.
  • Really hard to judge, tbh. I haven't used Alexa either, so would need to get one before I could offer an opinion.
  • alexa is great particually the plex and netflix intergrationj but honestly cortana on desktop was doing alot of what alexia does and did it earlyer, still great device.
  • 12 hour works days... This is exactly why I had to stop firing off comments on here while I am at work. =P
  • Yuck yuck yuck
  • let's be honest​و first learn to rspect people name then talk
  • This.
  • Let's be honest ill show him respect when he shows respect to the consumers he took money from. Sold us Band devices then killed the department before they could fix the "connecting" bug that cripples it, try contacting support for your less than a year old 950's and you get a third party company that he dumped support on (who by the way, dont know the phone even exists when you contact them), etc. He lost all my respect with this total regard for the people he room money from. He cant be canned soon enough.
  • and you think all of that, however bad it may or may not be, justifies resorting to calling someone names like a second grader?
  • I'd rather be called a name than have my money stolen.
  • You seem to be taking it personal, where he's just the visible face of a huge company. Do you react the same way when you get bad customer support with your phone company?
  • Yeah. When I dump $700 on a phone and $200 on a band and within a year he kills any real support for them, I get upset. In my opinion he is a train wreck for the consumer and that's how I feel and that's not changing. They will dump his lame arse soon enough and ill have a smirk the entire time.
  • Oh, yeah, that's going to happen imminently since the stock is at record highs and rising. Shareholders care about rising stock and dividends, not a few disgruntled customers, which all corporations have. 
  • You think what you want, ill think what I want. Have a good one.
  • the phone is still suported.  my lumia 930 is 3 years old and still gets updates and my lumia 830 is 2.5 years old and still gets updates.  yeh some of the rebooted software is terrible as they miss features we had in 8.1 and gerstures beta is not suported in windows 10 but the phone still gets updaTES AND RUNS WELL, BOTH OF THEM.
  • His job is to take the tough decisions for MS. They still support the 950 etc. but they're focusing their efforts on their vision of what's to come, which I am all for and I'm glad he's pushing for. I enjoy my 950 but as you mentioned, It's nearly a year old and it has deviated from what MS is envisioning for the future of mobile, so I look forward to what they are currently putting their focus on, which I'm sure will be the true show-piece for Windows Mobile, which inturn will allow it to get the attention it deserves. The Surface brand grew stronger under his leadership, Windows 10 has evolved and matured quickly under his leadership and Microsoft itself is finally being noticed amongst consumers under his leadership ...so the guy clearly know what he's doing even though he might have a few hiccups' along the way. Im certain he hasnt killed the Band 3 but instead he's just re-envisioned it and giving us a better product and Daniels comments above are quite reassuring of this since he gets inside news. Dont forget, Bands werent selling like hot cakes, just like the Lumia's weren't either ...so it is logical that instead of focusing on these products, they focus their resources into something new in the same category that might have more potential to succeed and in return bring them more users, data and cash. In my opinion, Nadella is the best thing to have happened to MS in such a short period of time, especially with the reformation he has done and the team leaders he has placed such as Panos. Instead of putting business men to lead product development /design, he has replaced them with people who are as passionate about the products as we are.
  • If by supporting the 950's you mean they pass you off to some third party company that when you call them, they dont know what the phones are, then after being put on hold for twenty minutes, they return with a flow chart of things to do then after five minutes you realize that the instructions the retrieved are for Windows 8. Then when your explain this is a Windows 10 Mobile device they tell you Windows 10 is for PC's and they only handle phone support.... Then yes....theh still support the 950's.
  • Im not saying you're wrong but it also depends on the country you are in, as in some countries, support is quite good for a product barely anyone in the world knows about. Other than that, when MS released the 950, they had mentioned this was a device for the fans and it clearly was a gap filler to ensure Windows Mobile had a presence of some sort until the true vision of W10 Mobile was completed. W10 Mobile (and I would even dare say Windows 10), didnt feel "completed" until the Anniversary Update was released ..but lets not get into that. As a 950 user, I'm happy my device is still being supported with updates and if its broken, I can find a replacement for the price of a replacement screen. Im glad MS is focusing on the future product and not hindering itself with what I like to refer to as a public demo device. The 950's while no slouch at all (and I love mine) are the equivalent of the Windows insider programs just in hardware form, so once again, Im personally ready for what MS has been putting its focus on with Panos' in control.
  • I'm in the US. He dump support for a device just shy of a year old. Its disgusting.
  • Let's put it this way ...he didnt drop support, they still update the device frequently .. if anything he pass on the technical support, on to an experienced company/service to take care of it. Should many customers exist for such a product, they would surely have better understanding and experience with the device but unfortunately maybe if they're lucky, they will get two to five calls a year that concerns the 950 compared to other more popular devices, so it's very normal that even some of those employees dont know anything about the 950 and follow textbook steps because it's simply a rare/unknown/unpopular device that barely anyone asks about, let alone people call support for. Aside from the above mentioned people like me and you who bought the 950 and are on this comment section bought this device knowing extremely well the situation we are getting into whether it was when Balmer was around or Nadella ...aside from that, the fact that we know of the 950 and purchased it, we also most probably know more about these devices than any tech support or tech savy person who doesnt use W10 Mobile or Lumia. This has nothing to do with Nadella, it has to do with the extremely low market share of these devices. Should the 950 have sold like hotcakes, you could bet that not only would there be loads more technical support for it but MS would be building on its success as opposed to building something new.
  • Experienced. Lmfao. Go read my comment again and feel free to call that "support" on your own.
  • Your argument is far to repetitive ..I read your comment clearly but that when a product barely exists in a big market, technically no one gives two ***** about it and if they did, they probably forgot about it. Not that hard to understand. You not happy with the service, go buy another phone and stop repeating an "argument" that has a clear and logical answer.
  • You dont just get to dump support in every product every time sales aren't what you want. That's how Microsoft got this launch and dunno label. It's a disgusting practice and shows little regard for the consumer.
  • True BUT once again, MS did say this was a phone for the fans and lets ignore they said that, they basically decided to pull out of Windows Mobile in it's current form, entirely. Shops dont sell these phones anymore either, so while I TRULY understand your point, you also have to understand we live in a day and age where all companies are maximizing on the resources. MS would rather place those resources in whats next as opposed to spending salaries on an employees who are dedicated to support a device that maybe only 10 of us in the entire world own and maybe just another 20 know about.
  • YEH MICROSFT CUSTOMER SUPORT EXPERIENCE IN THE LAST YEAR FOR ME SUCKED TOO BUT HONESTLY THE PHONES DONT, APART FROM DEVELOPERS LEAVING THE ECO SYSTEM THAT IS.  mAYBE YOVE JUST BEEN UNLUCKY.
  • "and Nutella" Racist.
  • Yeah. Racists. Whatever. You twist it to however you want. He treats the consumers as disposables and ill keep treating him like a clown. Get a grip.
  • I am far from the PC, touchy-feely snowflake. But calling an Indian man with non-white skin a name of a sandwich spread that is brown like his skin, that is racist. Sorry that you are a horrible person who first wants to use childish names, and then picks a name to make fun of a person's skin color.
  • For the last time, its a play on word with his name...if you want to look for a reason to tie "colors" into this,you feel free. The cap of the bottle is white, so there goes your fishing for "racism". Knock it off. I dont care if he is white, pink, or green...he sucks as a CEO from the consumer stand point.
  • I'm sorry Nohone, but you're kinda whats wrong with America (Or, the world, if you aren't from America.. but my money is on you being american)
    Either you aren't intelligent enough to put together that "Nutella" sounds a lot like "Nadella", or you see that and STILL want to make it about racism. Equally sad either way.
  • Exactly
  • He's american. Typed 'color' instead of 'colour'.
    .
  • Activated by Hey Cortana as well as other devices? That'll be fun....
  • The PC I was watching this on wanted to create a reminder while I was watching... So there you go haha
  • I still see no use for these personally. However, I think Microsoft, via Cortana, has put themselves in a good position to make these types of devices much more valuable
  • One thing I really wish Microsoft would push, is support in the big Automotives stereos (GM, Ford, Chrysler, Toyota, etc). While I can get Windows Phone to work with them, its usually really hookie how it works since there is no real plan for their integration from the Automotive companies.
  • THIS! YES!
  • Microsoft has confirmed that they are pushing Windows 10 IOT/Cortana to connected cars.
  • Very cool. Would make it much easier with hands free in the car.
  • There was a prototype shown before that Windows Phone can work in cars infotainment systems through MirrorLink, which is a direct competitor to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sadly that seems canned as no progress ever hinted at all about it and many people seems forget about this, thus no one pressuring MS to implement it on W10M (or even W10). ​MirrorLink shell for W10M would be the easier path to have Windows devices to be integrated into car that supports the standard. This is one of the major gripes of Microsoft that they seem ignoring. Seriously, even this would make W10M more useful on the car other than just a normal bluetooth device or USB connected phone which your car still do all the heavy lifting. Frankly many car infotainment systems are not even that great where UX are just all-over-the place with slow response. MirrorLink integration at least already exist on several cars, even before Apple CarPlay and Android Auto exist. Yes, built-in Windows 10 IoT would be nice, but that's just a based OS which doesn't have specific feature set and integration to other Windows devices, it's all up to car manufacturers to actually implement their own shell and features. It's like the previous Windows Embedded Automotive which exist for ages, that didn't mean it will have seamless integration to MS ecosystems.  
  • Windows Phone supporting MirrorLink which sadly didn't happen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYCwzF9uGbQ
  • I can see it now. Say "Hey Cortana" to activate my Harman Kardon device to check the weather and Cortana simultaneously responds on my Lumia 950, Xbox one, laptop and tablet all nearly at the same time. That will be cool.
  • Already thought about that. I dont know how that will work with many of us having three or more Cortana devices within earshot.
  • Problem was ignored when it only affected the relative handful of WP users with cortana, now with windows 10 on a significantly larger number of devices maybe Microsoft will finally do something to address this. However knowing them, I bet they just ignore it like they've done so far.....
  • Here's hoping it has Groove Music integration.
  • Every time I try and watch the video, Cortana is activated on my phone or tablet. Can't wait to be driven mad by TV adverts for Cortana integrated products😂
  • hasnt happened at all in the 3 times i've watched it. not on the phone or pc or xbox that are in the room. the pc reacts when i ask cortana something on the xbox etc but not from this video.
     
  • Never had to set it up to my voice before as Cortana is not advertised much over the media and not many people own windows phones 🙂
  • Why don't you set it up to only listen to you?
  • Never had to before. No one else I know owns a windows phone or tablet
  • Cortana is a little more available than those other assistants. :)
  • I was watching a video about Ok, Google and Alexa comparison. Every time one or the other was said each device would respond with the same words as the video. So the multiple device thing and Hey Cortana is not unique
  • You wanted it you got it and Microsoft didn't have to give it to ya. Win win 🏆
  • in every mcrosoft news people talk about is gonna fail beacuse of microsoft band discontinue / just get over it microsoft band is gone end of the line and all of the companies have discontinue some products it's NOT JUST MICROSOFT /
  • Its not the killing it that is upsetting us...its the killing support and not fixing the issues with them before bailing. Real scum bag move.
  • Android wear anyone?
  • I ​hope this will evolve a bit. I don't think I will keep shouting Hey Cortana all the time just for doing things. or Hey Echo or Hey Alexa or what ever. Maybe if I just can say play this xxx or book that.  
  • For all those worried about saying "Hey Cortana" and it activating on numerous devices, I know that this is something Microsoft was working on. I forget when and where I heard this, but I do recall it being discussed.
  • Thanks for mentioning me guys, but it's actually Attila :D Bartha is my last name. We're strange here in Hungary, and write our last name in front of our first name :D
  • Fixing ;)
  • Thanks, Dan :D
  • I am excited for this news and looking forward to trying this.  Hurray, Microsoft! 
  • Great song choice. Definitely insta buy for me. I have a harmon pardon speaker currently and it sounds great. Having this in my living room would be awesome
  • You know, you could get a Harman Kardon speaker, put it in a box with a pretty light and a Lumia 640 fairly cheaply. Just sayin. :)
  • Didn't Harman Kardon get bought out by Samsung?
  • Now imagine what happens when Samsung sees success in this and puts Cortana on the tvs or shipping with galaxy
  • I was thinking the same thing, PLUS Samsung also bought the company that created Siri, tons of "conflict of interest" here, I'd stay away! Samsung has already pledged to put its "ViV" into its products which now includes Harmon Kardon.
  • Fail.  Gorgeous idea, but....fail.  Scenario: You walk in your living room.  You have an Xbox One w/Kinect, a Surface Pro and a Windows Mobile phone, all in the room.  Now you just set up your brand new Harman/Kardon smart speaker.  Then, without thinking, you say, "Hey, Cortana, remind me to go grocery shopping at 7pm "  Suddenly, ALL FOUR DEVICES WAKE UP AND TRY TO PROCESS YOUR REQUEST....sadly, with various results of success and a lot of chaos.  Until Microsoft solves the problem of multiple devices, all fully enabled for Cortana, being able to determine WHICH single device should handle your request, this is a huge mistake. 
  • You walk in your living room. You have an Xbox One w/Kinect, a Surface Pro and a Windows Mobile phone, all in the room.
    That person does not exist. (Also, those problems are solvable, or rather, companies like Microsoft and others are working on that. Google has the same issue.)
  • Im at my laptop right near the kitchen, I can see the xobx from here, my Icon w/win 10 mobile is on the counter. the xbox(w/kinect in the living room), Icon and laptop can all hear me when i say hey cortana to turn on the xbox.  So here I am, I exist.  The phone doesnt react all the time but the laptop and xbox always react when i hey cortana. Doesnt bother me really. Usually the laptop just responds that she can't do that right now. btw, none of those devices responded to the harmon kardon video as others are suggesting. my xbox never responded to xbox commercials either.
  • I think and I hope that Microsoft is already working on this as a preparation as part of Cortana on IoT. The "presense detection" is a must so the device will know that a user is ready to give commands while on that room/area.   It also need for all Cortana-enabled devices (that includes Android and iOS) to all work in tandem to determine which device should only respond based on user activity and which device is active. Example: - User holding a device with Cortana, detects the accelerometer or the device is unlocked. This device marked as active and only responds to Cortana and given a priority. - Other mobile device or PC is locked or sleeping, so only Xbox with Kinect or Cortana speakers will only respond to the user. Kinect will be given a highest priority since it can sense a person/user and should be ready for commands. - PC will only respond to commands if no other devices are maked active by the user. If there is Cortana speakers around the same area/room, that speaker will be given priority if the PC slept for too long. There should be a configuration also to pair the speaker to the specified PC, so a speaker will respond first then if the results need a visual presentation, it will then passed to the paired PC.
  • That's cause Cortana on Xbox with Kinect is pretty bad, at least for me. It never understands the first time I say anything
  • I exist and it's my problem...its compounded by my 2 kids hp stream 7 tablets and my wife's Surface....it not only needs to figure which one it needs to reply but also somehow whos is talking. Maybe home hub?
  • Yeah, my family room has Xbox with connect, usually my phone, and many times my Surface.
  • I've got a 950XL, Surface book, Xbox 360 in one room, XBOX one in another, and my kids have surface pros. I think I exist? (I think, therefore I am!)
  • Only problem is that she can't really understand 90% you tell to her... MSFT claims they had a breakthrough in speech recognition? Well, they haven't applied it to Cortana yet...
  • I agree, she has regressed. Bought a Dot two weeks ago for $40 and was amazed at how much better the voice recognition is. Like I said before, it's not enough to produce the device. You need others to adopt it and provide their services to work with it while you continue support and development. Something MS has failed at. It will bust, too late to the game. 99 % of the world already have Alexa, Siri or Google.
  • This is definitely the nicest one to date. The original echo is a close second and the google home one is ugly.
  • The Google one looks like one of the scent aroma things women are all smelling the room up with.
  • I don't know how I feel about how Cortana looks on it. I'm excited about the prospect of this, but I personally prefer how Cortana looks now.
  • And of course.. This will ONLY be available to Americans for about 5 years.  
  • I think so too. I live in Korea but I do not know when it will be supported. Cortana should be expanded to support countries. I would like to have Cortana Korean support.
  • Would be pretty cool if some OEM built a device similar in dimension and design to Nokia's MD-12 speaker but could use the hey Cortana feature.
  • I agree own a couple, orange and green, and think that often when using them
  • Didn't sound like Cortana (Jen Taylors) voice... Hope they don't change Cortanas voice at all...
  • I am tickled pink about this announcement. Can't wait for this to come out in 2017!
  • Nice I'm sold on one for my living room
  • This looks awesome, but until I can use Cortana on my Xbox One in Canada (apparently she doesn't understand what "eh?" means), I am just going to have to spend my money on Timbits instead of this really cool AI enhanced speaker, because I seriously doubt it will work anywhere but the US. Sad, eh?
  • Ive been using Cortana on Xbox one in Toronto from the time it was released!!! I think I changed the region setting, that's all!
  • Ive been using Cortana on Xbox one in Toronto from the time it was released!!! I think I changed the region setting, that's all!
  • Deadmau5! Nokia and Microsoft used their music in the early days of windows phone 7! Works well
  • They had a deadmau5 concert even.
    I member
  • When is it coming to Windows 10 Mobile?
  • H/K makes awesme products. I WISH the BT speaker I just bought had this. Can't wait, that is way cool. MS and OEM's are going to do some awesome things with Cortana!
  • Yes, I'm a big fan of this.  Alexa is definitely functional, but I would certainly love to replace her with Cortana - plus it would tie into all my existing stuff. Definitely keeping an eye out for news on this.
  • Cortana currently has fewer countries supported than Siri and Google Now. Cortana should expand its service to more countries. I think it should be the first. Compared to Google and Apple, expansion of support countries is too slow. I want Cortana to be supported in South Korea.
  • just bought an echo dot.  Considering purchase of harmony hub to control xbox / tv with alexa.  Or I guess I could just plug up my kinect....   Trying to go as seamless as possible with as few hub devices as possible.  It's annoying that everything needs a hub.  Harmony hub, hue hub, smart things , wink etc etc
  • Has there been any update or rumor on this? Nothing was released at CES as far as I have heard. I really like this speaker.
    I'm curious when this is slated to come out. I also wonder, if they are holding off until RS2 or RS3 comes out, because of some functionality in W10, which does not exist today. Yet.
     
  • love cortana, i cant wait for this speaker, hopefully she can work properly with plex and netflix.  Hope the cortana app for android improves cause right now its not a very usable app like it is in windows mobile.  Still ive been waitign to see cortana come to the home this way even thopugh i use her alot on my desktop and have been for quite a while.  On desktop shes great.  Still havent been able to get her to work within plex or netflix, but great for alot of other tasks.