The Harman Kardon Invoke is the first “ambient device” to include Skype calling

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Skype may not be the most popular messaging app out there, but it’s definitely one of the most ubiquitous ones. In addition to the web, mobile platforms, Android Wear smarwatches and Xbox One consoles, Skype is now also available on the Harman Kardon Invoke, the first ambient speaker powered by Cortana.

“The Harman Kardon Invoke speaker, with Cortana by Microsoft, is the first of these devices embedded with easy, voice-activated Skype calling to your Skype contacts, phone contacts, and local businesses,” the Skype team explained in a blog post. The Invoke includes seven far-field microphones, which can recognize voice commands in noisy environments and deliver clear, reliable voice communication with Skype.

You can use Cortana on the Invoke to place hand-free Skype-to-Skype calls, or ask the digital assistant to call any mobile or landline phone number. For a limited time, you can actually enjoy Free Skype calling from the US to mobile phones and landlines in the US, Canada and Mexico. You can see how it works in the video below:

Skype calling may not be the killer feature on the Harman Kardon Invoke, but it’s definitely nice to have. In our hands-on time with the Invoke, we were impressed by its excellent sound quality, which seems to be superior to competing products from Amazon or Google (Harman Kardon is an audio equipment manufacturer, so that’s not completely surprising). The Invoke can also connect to popular music services including Spotify, and you can also use the ambient speaker to control various smart home appliances.

The Invoke is available to purchase in the US for now, and it can be yours for $199.95. You can find it today at the US Microsoft Store, Harman Kardon’s website as well as Best Buy retail and online stores.