Harman Kardon will soon release a software update for its Invoke smart speaker which removes Cortana and turns it into a standard Bluetooth speaker.
The update will be released March 10, 2021, so in about two days, and Harman Kardon recommends that Invoke users leave the speaker “connected to the internet and kept online overnight between 2 AM and 5 AM local time.” The update will no longer be available after June 30, 2021. For whatever reason.
“If your speaker isn’t already connected to the internet, it’s encouraged that you connect as soon as possible to ensure you receive the update,” a Harman Kardon FAQ notes. “Please note that the Cortana service on the Harman Kardon Invoke will end in the coming months regardless of whether you receive the update.”
As the firm notes, the decision to end Cortana support came from Microsoft, not Harman Kardon.
“Microsoft decided to end support for the Cortana integration in the Harman Kardon Invoke speaker in January 2021,” the FAQ says. “Microsoft has worked closely with Harman Kardon to create a device transition plan that will help ease the impact this has on some of our customers … Microsoft noticed few users engage in the productivity tasks that Cortana is focused on. Microsoft greatly values our customers, and this was a tough decision they did not take lightly.”
Harman Kardon launched the Invoke in 2017, and it was the first—and, I believe, only—Cortana-powered smart speaker.