Harman Kardon’s Invoke ditches Cortana support

Harmon Kardon Invoke
Harmon Kardon Invoke

Microsoft's digital personal assistant leaves home

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9 March 2021 | 0

Microsoft’s Cortana digital personal assistant is continuing its slow decline with word that the Harman Kardon Invoke, the final smart speaker powered by Microsoft’s once-promising voice assistant, will disable it with an impending update.

Slated for release on Wednesday, the previously announced update will essentially turn the Invoke into a ‘dumb’ Bluetooth speaker.

An FAQ on Karman Kardon’s support site says the update will install itself silently in the background over Wi-Fi. Once applied, the speaker will no longer respond to ‘Hey Cortana,’ nor will it connect to Wi-Fi anymore.

 

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In a review of the Invoke on TechHive the device was criticised as being “too immature” to recommend, partly due to doubts about Cortana’s viability in the face of Amazon’s Alexa “juggernaut”.

The writing has been on the wall for Cortana. Microsoft’s voice assistant launched great fanfare back in 2014 but was quickly eclipsed by the likes of Alexa and Google Assistant. By 2019, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella was already making noises about changing course with Cortana.

The other shoe dropped a year later, with Microsoft announcing that it would end support for third party Cortana skills and drop the Cortana apps for iOS and Android. In the same announcement, Microsoft said it would also pull Cortana from the Invoke smart speaker and from its own Surface headphones.

The move effectively ends Microsoft’s attempt to turn Cortana into a smart home platform, but Cortana isn’t quite dead, or at least not yet.

Instead, Microsoft said Cortana would “shift toward a transformational AI-powered assistant experience in Microsoft 365”.

That means Cortana is in danger of turning into a glorified version of Clippy.

IDG News Service

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