Logitech began selling the Harmony Link hub in 2011… and now the company has announced that if you have one it’ll stop working on March 16, 2018.
The Harmony Link is a device that lets you use an iPhone, iPad, or Android device as a universal remote. It can control TVs, cable boxes, DVD players and other gadgets. But it’s an internet-connected device… and since Logitech is shutting down the cloud service that powers the Harmony Link, it’ll effectively stop working in a few months.
Update: Logitech has changed course, and now promises to offer free upgrades to a newer model for all Harmony Link users.
The rest of the original article continues below.
Logitech is telling folks who own a product that’s still under warranty that they can upgrade to a newer Harmony Hub for free. But if you’e got an out-of-warranty device, the best Logitech is doing is offering a 35 percent discount on the new model.
The company is making no promises that it won’t remotely disable the Harmony Hub in a few years though.
With a growing number of household gadgets relying on cloud services, it’s likely that we’ll see this sort of thing happen more and more often. In some ways, I suppose remotely bricking a device might be more responsible than just ceasing to offer updates at all. It’s kind of sobering to think of all the WiFi routers in the world that will never be updated to protect users from the latest security vulnerabilities (I don’t know about you, but I know a lot of people who haven’t bought a new router in 10+ years).
Still, I don’t blame annoyed customers who feel like they were just “renting” equipment from Logitech when they thought they were buying it.
A solution would be from Logitech to release the source code of the server to run locally. Or even a closed blob. Install it on your PC or better yet on a RasPi. There really is no need to outsource somthing so trivial into the cloud, when any microcontroller could do it for you…
In fact I think any hardware that’s based on cloud based software that it cannot function without should be guaranteed a minimum length of time to work and / or offered to run on a local server. This should be guaranteed by law, so we don’t “rent” stuff as Brad said. What we do now is both wasteful for the environment and misleading to the customers.
Glad to have gotten away from Logitech. Much better control systems out there, with no online requirements.
What are some better systems? I’ve got a dying harmony to replace, and my google-fu is failing me.
Time to start figuring out how to block these from getting any internet traffic at all and seeing if they still work. As somebody who just bought one on one of the sales, I’m faced with either figuring out how to block the brick or returning it ASAP.
If they actually let you upgrade for free then it sounds like you got a great deal.
With my experience with Logitech devices, I’m surprised anything over a year old is still working.
It’s going to be a long while before its common in TVs to have controls tied into Alexa and Google Assistant and whatnot. The world really needs a decent smart I/R blaster like this. So much so that people put up with the Logitech because it is one of the few games in town.
I’m surprised Amazon doesn’t put one out for it’s ecosystem. I wish Google would but very much doubt they will.
I wonder if there is some open-source project using off the shelf parts and hooking into Raspberry Pi or Arduino or something.
Im working on one right now, but I have a full time job, so its been quite a while in the making…
Your title says 2016, not 2018. 🙂
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