Watch out, Nest: Microsoft just teased a Cortana thermostat
Microsoft has built a not-yet-public listing in its online Store site that lists some details about the coming Cortana-powered speaker from Harman Kardon.
As discovered by "The Walking Cat" on Twitter, the still-publicly-unpublished page indicates that the coming Invoke speaker will be available in two colors: Graphite (black) and Pearl Silver. The price for either model is listed as $199.95.
The page currently indicates both models as "sold out" even though they haven't yet gone on sale, which indicates that this may be just a placeholder price listing. (A leak from earlier this week pegged the coming device as having a $150 "average retail price" as noted by Windows Central.)
Microsoft announced late last year that Harman Kardon would be making the first Cortana-powered standalone speaker that's meant to rival the Amazon Echo, Google Home and Siri HomePod smart speaker. The Harman Kardon speaker has Linux inside, but uses Cortana as the speech engine.
"Captivating sound meets Cortana's intelligence," says the page's tag line.
I had wondered if Microsoft and Harman Kardon might be positioning the coming speaker as more of a business device, given Microsoft's recent partnership with Amazon around Alexa and Cortana. Microsoft and Amazon officials made a point of noting during that announcement that Cortana's specialty is its integration with Microsoft Office apps.
But the page on the Microsoft Store site emphasizes the "home" angle of the device. Cortana allows users to control their music, ask qustions about news and weather, place hands-free Skype calls, control select home-automation devices and also "create reminders and lists, manage your schedule, and more," the page notes.
Microsoft still has far fewer Cortana skills, or add-ins, than Amazon's Alexa does, and Cortana has definitely has not been at the forefront of home-automation. That said, a Cortana-powered, Windows 10-based smart thermostat from Johnson Controls also is in the works.
The Invoke will be a U.S.-only product the page confirms. Microsoft officials have said previously it will be available "this Fall."
Update: As MSpoweruser.com notes, Microsoft has updated that page to indicate that the release date for the Harman Kardon speaker is Oct. 22. Microsoft also updated the page to include the specs of the device, which weighs 2.3 pounds.