If you will be planning to make a shopping list to take advantage of post-holiday sales then I want to recommend you consider adding one of these smart speakers -- the Harmon Kardon Invoke or the Amazon Echo -- to that list. Let me explain why.
I test a lot of devices over the course of my work, and my recent experience with smart speakers has really changed how I interact with smart assistants like Cortana. Before, I mostly kept voice activation for Cortana turned off on my Windows 10 devices. This is because if you have even two Windows 10 devices and you turn on Cortana’s ability to respond to the Hey, Cortana, command, you would end up with multiple devices listening to your voice command and then responding. That's more trouble than you need.
That changed when I got the Invoke speaker with Cortana and I began using it on a daily basis. Although her skillset is not nearly as deep compared to Alexa she is built to work within Microsoft services like email, calendaring, Skype calls, and creating various task lists as necessary. Plus I can easily listen to my music or hear other news, do searches, check the weather, and schedule easy reminders and meetings – all with my voice. I found that I was doing more with voice commands than I ever did before plus there was the benefit that only one device, the Invoke speaker, responded to those commands.
My experience isn't exclusive to the Windows platform. Whether you are deeply ensconced in the Amazon Alexa, Microsoft Cortana, or Google Assistant ecosystems, these interactive speakers add an entirely new level of interaction with these services.
These devices are each getting their own different levels of market share with Amazon’s Echo leading the way followed by Google and Microsoft. The number of skills that are available for each platform run in about the same order plus Cortana is available to the more than 600 million active users of Windows 10 while the Google Assistant is available to most Android devices.
So whichever ecosystem you are more invested in -- even those committed to an all-Apple hardware platform can look forward to Siri on the HomePod in 2018 -- you should seriously make a shopping list right now and put a smart speaker on it so you can pick it up in a post-holiday sale. Heck -- ask your operating system's smart assistant to do it for you. They'll appreciate the help.