Logitech’s Harmony brand tried to reinvent the wheel with its Harmony Express remote control, and it didn’t work. The company just sent out an email to customers alerting them that the $250 remote — which used Amazon’s Alexa voice assistant as the brains for controlling your various home theater components — will cease functioning after September 30th. It will be fully cut off from both the Harmony and Alexa clouds, according to this FAQ. Ouch.
The Harmony Express was only introduced in April 2019, so that’s a pretty short lifespan for what was positioned as a significant product for the company. Retailers, including Amazon and Best Buy, have already ceased sales of the device, which clearly didn’t take off in the way Logitech envisioned. The company is taking some measures to help customers who took a chance and bought the Express, so read on for details on that.
“With Alexa Built-In, Harmony Express aimed to replace the complexity of the touch screens and programmable buttons found on other Harmony remotes with a simple voice interface,” Harmony wrote in its email to customers. “Unfortunately, our expectations were not met for this kind of Harmony remote, and as a result we’ve decided to focus our efforts on our core user experience: powerful universal remote control in a world with many devices connected to the TV.”
Logitech tried to create a voice-powered, convenience-focused remote for its loyal home theater enthusiast customer base, and the idea was widely rejected. And now the Harmony Express is another bruising reminder of how quickly cloud-based gadgets can turn into a useless hunk of plastic.
To soften the blow of the very abrupt discontinuation, Logitech says it will swap anyone’s Harmony Express remote for a Harmony Elite for free. “Harmony Elite is our flagship experience featuring a powerful programmable controller for AV and smart home control that works with other Amazon Alexa devices to enable voice control.”
But if that’s not good enough, the company is also willing to provide full refunds to anyone who can provide proof of purchase of their Harmony Express device. Refunds are handled through TransferWise.com and are estimated to take around five days after you provide that receipt.
Customers have until December 31st to request either the exchange for the Harmony Elite or a full refund, and Logitech says owners of the product will continue receiving notifications and emails about the September 30th cutoff over the next few weeks.
If you dared to purchase the Harmony Express, you can go here for all of the details on the exchange / refund process.