HARMAN Introduces Voice-Activated Intelligent Speakers for Alexa and Google Assistant

If you’ve got an Amazon Alexa or Google Home device, then you’ve already found out that while intelligent speakers are okay, they usually aren’t that great to look at nor do they sound as amazing as one might hope.

HARMAN has come out with new speakers that will make using your favorite smart assistant an even better experience — especially if you like to use Alexa or Google Assistant for streaming music.

Let’s look at the Harman Kardon Allure, first; it’s made to work with Amazon Alexa Voice Service.

Reminiscent of the iconic dome-shaped Aura Plus, the Allure has a round, 360º design that puts Harman Kardon sound out from all angles.

 

The Harman Kardon Allure is hands-free and voice activated, just like the Amazon Echo; it will play your favorite streaming music, read the news, read Audible audiobooks, control your smarthome, and make purchases from Amazon Prime.

The allure uses proprietary far-field voice technology so that the speaker can hear your spoken commands from a far distance in a noisy room. That’s one of the things that I’ve struggled with, on my Echo: if the music is playing, Alexa can’t always hear me.

Right now, Alexa has over 20,000 skills, and the Allure is ready to take advantage of all of those capabilities while looking beautiful and sounding great.

The Harman Kardon allure also has 360º ambient lighting that glows from within and reacts to voice commands as well as moving along to the rhythm of the music playing.

“We’re excited, to integrate with Amazon Alexa to deliver a beautiful speaker with astounding audio coupled with all the intelligent features of Alexa,” said Michael Mauser, President, Lifestyle Audio Division at HARMAN. “Research shows the number one use of digital voice services is music streaming and Allure with its premium sound quality, iconic design, and exceptional voice-enabled technology, will produce a spectacular sound experience while delivering on our promise of elevating a connected life through smart technology.”

The Harman Kardon Allure features:

  • Powered by Amazon Alexa Voice Service: Connect to Alexa through dual-band Wi-Fi, just ask and Alexa will provide information, place an order, play music, and more. It’s always getting smarter and adding new features with more than 20,000 Alexa skills.
  • Far-field Voice Recognition: Built-in 4-microphone array with advanced noise cancellation technology allows for hands-free voice control from across the room.
  • 360-Degree Sound: Transducers and built-in subwoofer produce 360-degrees of rich and powerful sound that fills up every corner of the room.
  • 360-Degree ambient Lighting: 360-Degree, multicolored and responsive lighting in an iconic design to elevate and enhance any décor.
  • Wireless Bluetooth Streaming: Stream room-filling music wirelessly from your mobile devices via Bluetooth.

If you love using Alexa, but you aren’t thrilled with the Amazon line of speakers that utilize it (her?), then you’ll want to pick up the Harman Kardon Allure when it is available for $249.95 later this winter. Keep an eye on the Harman Kardon site and Amazon for availability.

If Google Assistant is more your speed, then you’ll especially like the three new speakers in the JBL LINK Series.

The JBL LINK 10, LINK 20, and LINK 300 are the “first voice-activated speakers to bring together JBL’s Signature Sound with the Google Assistant.” With Google Assistant built-in, the JBL LINK series offers voice activated and hands-free control of your smart devices and streaming music. You wake your speaker by saying Okay Google, and then tell them what to do.

The three LINK series speakers stream high-definition music with built-in Chromecst, and they provide “best-in class sound quality and endless entertainment from the most popular music and entertainment apps, all through a simple voice command.”

“We are thrilled to pair JBL’s incredible legacy of award winning sound with our growing line-up of voice-controlled speakers,” said Michael Mauser, President of the Lifestyle Audio Division at HARMAN. “JBL LINK is a first-class wireless smart speaker that allows consumers to entertain and enjoy world class sound in a sleek package.”

The LINK 10 and LINK 20 speakers are portable with “5 and 10 hours of battery life respectively, and the IPX7 waterproof design gives LINK even more versatility for enjoyment outdoors. LINK 300 delivers more powerful sound. Multiple speakers can be easily linked together for a big, bold multi-room listening experience—within reach of any home Wi-Fi network.”

If you’re interested in the JBL LINK series with Google assistant, you’ll be able to find the speakers on the JBL site and select retailers starting in the fall.

 

We should have a review of the Allure later this year; I look forward to putting it through its paces.

 


About the Author

Judie Lipsett Stanford
I've had a fascination with all types of gadgets and gizmos since I was a child, beginning with the toy robot that my grandmother gave my brother - which I promptly "relieved him of" in 1973. I'm a self-professed gadget magpie. I can't tell you how everything works, but I'm known world-wide for using a product until I have a full understanding of what it does, what its limitations are, and if it excels in any given area — or not.