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Tablets

Microsoft’s Harman Kardon Invoke smart speaker is likely around the corner, with Spotify and Pandora support

By Adrian Diaconescu April 27, 2017, 8:38 am

Microsoft’s historical love-hate relationship with Samsung is starting to decidedly lean towards an unlikely friendship going forward, as the Redmond-based tech giant effectively gives up on both its mobile hardware and software dreams.

But Cortana is far from dead, probably needing more than anything its very own standalone device to compete on equal footing against the likes of Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. Enter the so-called Invoke smart speaker, presumably at the Build Developers Conference in Seattle on May 10, as a result of a high-profile collaboration between Microsoft and Harman Kardon.

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Yes, the same Harman Kardon that’s an integral part of the larger Harman International Industries corporation recently acquired by none other than Samsung. Now, given how close this thing apparently is to a formal announcement and commercial launch, you have to figure its R&D precedes the $8 billion takeover and possibly even the beginning of the two companies’ negotiations.

Still, Samsung could have probably blocked the Microsoft-endorsed Harman Kardon Invoke if it really wanted to. Then again, why do that when Bixby is so young and unskilled at the moment?

For its part, the Cortana-powered Invoke looks more and more promising with each new rumor and exposé, almost definitely supporting Skype, as well as Spotify, Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn. It’s certainly nice to hear that the smart speaker, while connected to Microsoft’s Groove Music by default, will allow users to stream their favorite tunes from other, more popular “personalized radio” services, just like the Echo or Google Home.

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