Logitech killing its Alexa-powered Harmony Express after just a year

The Logitech Harmony Express
The Logitech Harmony Express will cease to function on Sept. 30, 2020. (Image credit: Phil Nickinson/What To Watch)

Logitech today announced that it's ending support for the Harmony Express remote — its first with full support for Amazon Alexa — on Sept. 30, 2020. The kill date comes about a year and a half after the remote was first made available.

That's bad news for anyone who paid the full $250 for the Harmony Express. (It's currently available from partners for more like $100, but obviously you shouldn't buy it at this point.) The good news is that Logitech absolutely is doing the right thing by its customers and offering either a free Harmony Elite remote control — which has long been on my list of the best remote controls you can buy — or you can get a full refund.

The Harmony Express combined support for Amazon Alexa with a new setup process (it required a new app and was completely separate from Logitech's other remotes, which means more overhead for its developers) with the goal of making it far simpler to connect and control all your home entertainment devices. 

The problem from the get-go was that there still was quite a bit of setup needed before you even begin to set up your own devices. You needed the Logitech app. Then you needed to connect the Alexa Harmony Skill and make sure that was all playing nice. Then you'd have to start setting up your devices. And while Logitech did a yeoman's job with that, the various combinations of hardware — TVs and soundbars and receivers and recorders and game systems and Blu-Rays — well, it's a pretty endless list that a brilliantly done onboarding process couldn't quite overcome. 

Then there was the remote control itself. Logitech greatly simplified things — it only had nine buttons along with the D-pad, with you using Alexa and your voice to do a lot of the heavy lifting, like changing inputs. But it maybe went a little too far in relying on Alexa here.

The end result was Logitech's first Alexa-enabled remote that worked well in a number of ways, but not so much to justify the price tag to the customer, or the cost of development for Logitech. And, thus, the Logitech Harmony Express is dead.

If you purchased one, be sure to take Logitech up on its offer of a refund or a free Harmony Elite. Logitech says you may be required to submit a copy of your proof of purchase, and you may be require to send your Harmony Express back to them. You have until the end of the year to get it done. To start that process, open the Harmony Express app and follow the instructions.

Phil spent his 20s in the newsroom of the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, his 30s on the road for AndroidCentral.com and Mobile Nations and is the Dad part of Modern Dad.