Harman Kardon Invoke - End of Life

PimpBot5001

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Just wondering if anyone has any theories regarding Spotify Connect and the Invoke End of Life.

My thinking is that Spotify Connect requires a wi-fi/internet connection...but I don't think it requires Cortana. I'm concerned that if I allow my Invoke to receive the firmware update in January 2021 (which will remove wi-fi capabilies and Cortana) then Spotify Connect will stop working.
BUT...if I disconnect my Invoke prior to the firmware update...and leave it disconnected for six months until they stop pushing the firmware update...them maybe I can salvage the Spotify Connect functionality?

And I find it irritating that the firmware update is being framed as a goodbye present because it will enable bluetooth. Here is a quote taken from a Windows Central article: "A firmware update will ship to the Harman Kardon in early 2021 that will allow people to use the device as a Bluetooth speaker". I guess they don't realize that the Invoke can already be used as a bluetooth speaker?!?
 

owmyappendix31

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I would like to know this as well. Maybe we could provide our MAC addresses to Microsoft and they could blacklist those of us who didn't want the update. I'd assume Spotify would just keep working just fine and we'd just get errors with Cortana, I'm just fine with that. Spotify connect audio quality is FAR better than Bluetooth. I'd rather not shelve the invoke for 6 months.
 

MikeStarbucks

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I would like to know this as well. Maybe we could provide our MAC addresses to Microsoft and they could blacklist those of us who didn't want the update. I'd assume Spotify would just keep working just fine and we'd just get errors with Cortana, I'm just fine with that. Spotify connect audio quality is FAR better than Bluetooth. I'd rather not shelve the invoke for 6 months.

Same here. I've actually given up on using Cortana on my invoke a long time ago, but I've been using Spotify Connect on it extensively. Removing Wi-Fi functionality from the device is not explicitly mentioned in Microsoft's message, but it seems that this is indeed their intention. That would be utterly shameful and a lousy move by Microsoft. Those of us who have purchase the speaker paid for a high-quality Wi-Fi speaker with Cortana, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth. I can accept removing a software/cloud feature like Cortana, and such a move makes total business sense for MSFT as they are focusing Cortana on productivity/enterprise use, but removing Wi-Fi support is taking away what I consider to be a Hardware feature and a critical piece of functionality from this product. In fact, I fail to understand how that is even something that Microsoft can do - as far as I recall, the device was available for purchased from Harman, and they should stand behind their product in at least keeping its hardware functionality.
As for Bluetooth audio, I can't begin to count its shortcomings vs. Wi-Fi. Starting with the functionality of a phone doubling as a source device for the music (think "all phone audio playing on speaker" - what happens when you want to play a short video on your device while listening to music on the speaker with friends, or take a phone call without stopping the music? Impossible without Wi-Fi), continuing with the need to stay within 30 feet of the speaker for the music to play vs. being able to leave the premises while the music continues to play on Wi-Fi (think a house party, going out to get more beer), and ending with the audio quality - including bit rate and interference. True, Spotify only supports up to 328kbps streaming bit rate today, but that could change if they adopt hi-res audio. And Invoke only supports the standard SBC Bluetooth codec (no aptX / LDAC / LHDC), which gives you up to 328kbps, but in noisy conditions you will get far lower effective bit rate. In comparison, Wi-Fi will pull the stream directly from Spotify's servers, leave your phone to do other tasks, not consume your phone's battery life, allow you to start the stream and leave the premises, and work at pretty much any bitrate that Spotify decides to support.
Bottom line, either this is a misunderstanding, or Microsoft and Harman need to compensate customers with a lot more than a $50 gift card if they remove Wi-Fi support from this speaker.
 

MikeStarbucks

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I wonder whether there is an update on this. I'm really quite concerned about losing my Spotify Connect feature in January. the device is worthless to me as a Bluetooth speaker.

Same here. I've actually given up on using Cortana on my invoke a long time ago, but I've been using Spotify Connect on it extensively. Removing Wi-Fi functionality from the device is not explicitly mentioned in Microsoft's message, but it seems that this is indeed their intention. That would be utterly shameful and a lousy move by Microsoft. Those of us who have purchase the speaker paid for a high-quality Wi-Fi speaker with Cortana, Spotify Connect and Bluetooth. I can accept removing a software/cloud feature like Cortana, and such a move makes total business sense for MSFT as they are focusing Cortana on productivity/enterprise use, but removing Wi-Fi support is taking away what I consider to be a Hardware feature and a critical piece of functionality from this product. In fact, I fail to understand how that is even something that Microsoft can do - as far as I recall, the device was available for purchased from Harman, and they should stand behind their product in at least keeping its hardware functionality.
As for Bluetooth audio, I can't begin to count its shortcomings vs. Wi-Fi. Starting with the functionality of a phone doubling as a source device for the music (think "all phone audio playing on speaker" - what happens when you want to play a short video on your device while listening to music on the speaker with friends, or take a phone call without stopping the music? Impossible without Wi-Fi), continuing with the need to stay within 30 feet of the speaker for the music to play vs. being able to leave the premises while the music continues to play on Wi-Fi (think a house party, going out to get more beer), and ending with the audio quality - including bit rate and interference. True, Spotify only supports up to 328kbps streaming bit rate today, but that could change if they adopt hi-res audio. And Invoke only supports the standard SBC Bluetooth codec (no aptX / LDAC / LHDC), which gives you up to 328kbps, but in noisy conditions you will get far lower effective bit rate. In comparison, Wi-Fi will pull the stream directly from Spotify's servers, leave your phone to do other tasks, not consume your phone's battery life, allow you to start the stream and leave the premises, and work at pretty much any bitrate that Spotify decides to support.
Bottom line, either this is a misunderstanding, or Microsoft and Harman need to compensate customers with a lot more than a $50 gift card if they remove Wi-Fi support from this speaker.
 

Whodaboss

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I too have the same concerns. HK website states "Harman Kardon has been working closely with Microsoft to ensure a seamless device transition for all Harman Kardon Invoke speakers from a voice-activated device to a Bluetooth-only streaming device. We know that most of our customers primarily use the Invoke to play music because of its premium quality sound. To make sure you can keep listening to music or your favorite podcasts, we’ve created a Bluetooth-enabled device transition plan that we hope will help ease the impact of this change. At the beginning of 2021, Harman Kardon will issue a firmware update to all Invoke speakers that are connected to the Internet."

The way I read this they are taking away the wi-fi connectivity. Which stinks. Truthfully, I don't get this move at all. You can currently use Bluetooth now anyways. If they want to remove Cortana just remove it. Why would they need to remove the wi-fi connectivity. I will be taking mine offline for the six months. I have many sonos speakers so I'll use a few of those where I currently have my Invokes. I'll see if that works. If not, then oh well. I've already received one $50 gift card. But I'll have to contact Microsoft in order to get my second. But I'll wait till June. Since you have to provide the MAC address to get the gift card I figured that's how they'll hone in and find the devices to update. What a crappy situation.
 

MikeStarbucks

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I too have the same concerns. HK website states "Harman Kardon has been working closely with Microsoft to ensure a seamless device transition for all Harman Kardon Invoke speakers from a voice-activated device to a Bluetooth-only streaming device. We know that most of our customers primarily use the Invoke to play music because of its premium quality sound. To make sure you can keep listening to music or your favorite podcasts, we’ve created a Bluetooth-enabled device transition plan that we hope will help ease the impact of this change. At the beginning of 2021, Harman Kardon will issue a firmware update to all Invoke speakers that are connected to the Internet."

The way I read this they are taking away the wi-fi connectivity. Which stinks. Truthfully, I don't get this move at all. You can currently use Bluetooth now anyways. If they want to remove Cortana just remove it. Why would they need to remove the wi-fi connectivity. I will be taking mine offline for the six months. I have many sonos speakers so I'll use a few of those where I currently have my Invokes. I'll see if that works. If not, then oh well. I've already received one $50 gift card. But I'll have to contact Microsoft in order to get my second. But I'll wait till June. Since you have to provide the MAC address to get the gift card I figured that's how they'll hone in and find the devices to update. What a crappy situation.

It's Feb 16 and my Invoke's Wi-Fi + Spotify Connect still work. Hoping they've accidentally skipped my device with the update.
I think the reason they "need" to remove Wi-Fi is that without Cortana support (via the Cortana service on Windows or mobile app), there is no way to onboard the speaker to a Wi-Fi network. Of course, if you're already connected to one, what do you care? Well, you will care once you change your network, which may happen before the speaker dies out... They likely want to prevent that situation as it'll be a pretty disappointing user experience.
As for the $50 gift card, it is useless, can't use it to buy anything on the MSFT Store. Shame on you both Microsoft and Harman.
 

Sammibulin97

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Glad to see there are some other HK user's interested in the Spotify feature!

I got a new service provider the past week so I had to reset my Invoke. I was able to set everything up and even reconnect my spotify account. So I'm guessing the update hasn't been sent out yet. Let's hope it's so not important to MSFT and HK that they just forget to do it haha.
 

TKETZ196

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My Invoke still works and have not gotten the firmware update. It is sad H/K and Microsoft couldn't work these devices to be Alexa enabled instead. And if they are ripping Cortana out, why couldn't they at least keep the top animations to pulsate with whatever music you're playing over bluetooth? Would have been a nice touch to have the red, white and blue pulsate and cycle between the colors while music is playing. I also hope they disable the mics completely (and they mean it) so no one "listens" in.

Has anyone gotten the firmware update? Is there a way to force it? MSFT and H/K support site says it began rolling out. I have not received it as I have left it plugged in. At least the sound is amazing and we can continue using bluetooth side it as such. Oh and we can still open Alexa via Cortana for now.
 

ablang

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Are all Harman Kardon Invoke users about to get royally screwed, Sony Dash style?

Without Cortana functionality, what else can the Harman Kardon Invoke do?
 

Gamely Lounges

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Today my Invoke is now ONLY a bluetooth speaker. I would at least like them to make the damn thing a speakerphone (with microphones). I tweeted @HarmanKardon today to ask for help. I suggest you all do the same.

I don't think there's any shot of them keeping "wifi" abilities like Spotify Connect, because I think it must requires the Invoke be able to talk to some cloud service that brokers a connection between your Invoke and Spotify. I understand that they want/need to kill off their cloud service.

My gripe is that they should be able to at least use the microphones to make this into a nice speakerphone for us all. That doesn't require ANY cloud service to continue running.

@HarmanKardon I have this beautiful Invoke speaker. Cortana was removed and it's now ONLY a speaker. Can you enable the microphones to make this a speakerphone? #cortana #homeoffice #speakers #reuse
 

Spurlock

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I guess I'm totally SOL. I've only just heard about the invoke plans, and missed the Bluetooth update because it wasn't plugged in. Now I can no longer get it connected to wifi to recieve the update either, as it seems Cortana can no longer setup the device for wifi. So I think I have a fully bricked Invoke.

Why disable bluetooth functionality until Cortana is connected?
 
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TKETZ196

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I got the update and now the Invoke is just the bluetooth speaker. I notice at times my tablet will disconnect with it. I may have to delete the old pairing profile and repair the connection. Other than that the sound is still amazing on it.

Still one of the best speakers out there in terms of audio quality. Even playing games and hearing the explosions, dialogue, etc. all sound great. My audio configuration through Windows Media Player has the bass and the WOW effected turned up a bit. It never disappointed me on that.
 

TKETZ196

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Hmm... You should still be able to configure the speaker. That won't be turned off until July or August to give people a chance to update, abeit the very small user base. According to the support website from Microsoft, the Cortana device setup app should still be able to configure the speaker in order for users to get the firmware update.
 

Gamely Lounges

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I guess I'm totally SOL. I've only just heard about the invoke plans, and missed the Bluetooth update because it wasn't plugged in. Now I can no longer get it connected to wifi to recieve the update either
@Spurlock, not sure what's going on but you should be fine. They said they will be pushing out this recent update for at least several months. Just keep the Invoke on and connected to your wifi.

check out this FAQ page from HK:
Cortana service on the Harman Kardon Invoke (microsoft.com)
 

Spurlock

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@TKETZ196, @Gamely Lounges,

Thank you for the help, its working now! After following some support docs online, I had no luck. Everywhere I had looked told me to restart the device by unplugging the device for 15 seconds or by holding the mute button for 5. After trying both countless times, I gave up and put in a support ticket with HK. In short time a technician by the name of Mario responded, and asked that I try resetting by the pinhole at the bottom of the device. I had thought that pinhole was where the microphone was located, not a reset button! After resetting by paperclip/pinhole, the device connected to wifi, and downloaded the bluetooth only functionality update.
 

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