Windows Central Podcast 216: RIP Invoke, Surface Laptop 4, and more!

Invoke Speaker
Invoke Speaker (Image credit: Windows Central)

We're back with another exciting episode of the Windows Central Podcast, and this week, Cortana has died more times than Jason Voorhees and Freddie Krueger combined. Surface Laptop 4 specs have leaked online — Daniel and Zac have the details. A new Microsoft webcam is reportedly on the way as well. Additionally, Microsoft rolled out Windows 10 build 21332 to Insiders in the Dev Channel.

The guys also dig into some gaming news. 20 Bethesda Softworks titles are coming to Xbox Game Pass, and Halo Infinite developers have offered insight into the game's day/night cycle, weather, different biomes, and more. All that, plus Daniel's review of the Dell XPS 8940 SE desktop!

This episode of the Windows Central Podcast was recorded on March 12th 2021.

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Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.

  • Well, I've retired my Invoke and replaced it with Google Nest. If they think I'm going to be happy with a serious downgrade in function they are mistaken. Cortana is the latest casualty of Microsoft's lax marketing. They just don't seem to have the energy or willingness to really get behind a product and push it. Another example, has anyone seen an add on TV for the Surface Duo?? I haven't. Plenty of adds for iPhone and Galaxy. Since getting my Duo in September, I've had only one out of many people ask me "Oh, is that a Surface Duo?" No one else knows what the heck it is. So for consumers, Cortana will go to the chamber of lost opportunities for Microsoft... and for us. We who shelled out good money for a product only to have it taken from us. RIP Cortana, Zune, Band, Windows Phone, etc...
    Microsoft giveth... and Microsoft taketh away...
  • Context: Google has retired far more products than MS.
  • Google tends to cancel smaller things, not their mobile or assistant platforms.
  • I feel your pain Nelman. I had two invokes and used Cortana daily. MS just kept lobotomizing her until in the end she was just a form of her brilliant self. As with many MS things. So much potential. So much waste.
    You have to wonder if we would have any Surface line at all now had it originally come out in this "new MS" era. Or error depending on your thinking.
  • In the case of Invoke, the demand was simply not there. Hence why Apple just killed their HomePod speaker as well. Consumers don't like these 'always listening' speakers, and if they do, they prefer the small cheaper ones, which are often given away for free as promotional items. The market for smart speakers is kind of tainted for that reason. Google and Amazon started very early with giving them away for free, so people tend not to want to spend money on them. Hence why Apple also killed their HomePod and will focus on their smaller cheaper one.
  • I switch to Apple's ecosystem a while back. I am more confidence in Macs getting more support for video games and other software then I do with Microsoft supporting and marketing their failing ecosystem at this time. Google does kill a lot more of their offerings than Microsoft and Apple combined. However, that is the nature of their work culture allowing employees to experiment with their 20% rule.
  • "Google does kill a lot more of their offerings than Microsoft and Apple combined. However, that is the nature of their work culture allowing employees to experiment with their 20% rule."
    Google effectively killed "20 percent time" back in 2013. Microsoft also has Garage, which is a similar strategy for creating new, experimental products like the just-released Journal. Microsoft Arrow was a Garage project and is now Microsoft Launcher for Android.
    "I am more confidence in Macs getting more support for video games "
    Doubt it because that's not Apple's demographic. Creators are. No one thinks of Apple when gaming is brought up. With things moving to the cloud for streaming the idea is even mooter. Indeed, a cloud-based OS is the future, not discrete localized processing.
  • I mean Apple just killed their HomePod speaker too... lol. The demand from consumers is simply not there.
  • You are delusional if you believe that brotha. Lol....
  • Ugh Microsoft just doesn't care about its small but loyal consumer fanbase. I loved my Invoke; it's pathetic Microsoft couldn't keep it going with all the $ they're raking in.
  • I Agree 100%, Anthony!
  • I wouldn't necessarily say it's fully Microsoft's fault. Apple just killed their HomePod speaker as well. The consumer demand is simply not there. They use cheaper smaller speakers like Nest and Alexa speakers. But even then, those don't sell that great either which is why they're often given out as free promo items. I'm guessing it's because people don't feel comfortable with 'always listening' speakers.
  • Yup, as I noted on Twitter: Amazon dominates smart speakers, Sonos dominates HQ wireless music in the home. Google tries to throw in a free puck when you buy a phone. Apple is not known for stellar AI, doesn't have the price point of Amazon, and is late moving against Sonos. It's a tough market that's already solidified. Let's also remember that the whole point of Alexa was to get people to order more stuff from Amazon and data suggests that only "only 2% of Alexa users reportedly purchase off the devices." Yikes. Technically, Alexa is a big fail as it's not doing what it was supposed to do: generate sales from Amazon.
  • @Zac, Youtube, pls! :)
  • I had the red ring to use as a Bluetooth speaker on my invoke but now it's in a perpetual state of trying to setup like factory reset.. Which you can't from the Cortana app anymore.. So the red dots spin and she just keeps saying let's get started. I had to unplug her. And steal my kids UE Megaboom