Microsoft has finally unveiled their long-rumored new Smart Speaker that will feature their own artificial intelligence-driven smart assistant, Cortana. The device, called the Harman Kardon Invoke, will be going up against such products as Google Home and Amazon ECHO. Microsoft has of course partnered with the veteran audio equipment manufacturer, Harman Kardon, which is quite obvious given the device's official designation.

High-tech audio technology

Being a company that was originally founded in 1953, Harman Kardon has a lot of experience when it comes to audio equipment.

This is apparent in the new device's high-tech speaker array, which includes three actual subwoofers and three tweeters. Harman Kardon claims that the speaker provides users with a "360-degree" sound, which might just be a fancy way of saying that it will be quite loud.

The company also equipped the smart speaker with seven microphones. The microphones are also equipped with the company's latest echo and noise cancellation technology, which should let Cortana hear commands even in noisy situations.

Despite the wide array of audio technologies included in the new Harman Kardon Invoke, the main star of the show is still the built-in virtual assistant, Cortana.

With Microsoft's vast experience in search technology and AI technology, the virtual assistant will likely be a worthy contender against Alexa and the Google Assistant. Given that Cortana has full access to the Bing database, the assistant will likely be able to give more accurate answers than even Alexa.

The assistant found in the device is still the same technology found on most computers and mobile devices.

Cortana actually started out as the built-in assistant found in Windows 10 devices, which is mostly used for text-based search. However, Microsoft has likely been developing the technology to include advanced voice recognition and better search capabilities.

A growing smart speaker market

Ever since Amazon released their Alexa-equipped Echo smart speaker, other big name manufacturers have been jumping on the bandwagon.

Google had already launched their new Google Home speaker, while Apple is rumored to be coming out with their own product as well that will feature their own virtual assistant, Siri. While Samsung currently has no plans to introduce a smart speaker that will incorporate their own Bixby virtual assistant, the company may do so sometime in the future.