If there is one underlying theme that mobile devices have taught us, it is that they are capable of disrupting entire industries. When Google rolled out Google Maps for free Garmin and TomTom watched stock prices literally tumble overnight. That same type of functionality is also threatening the universal remote control industry. Many smart TVs now allow users to operate all of their functionality directly through a WiFi enabled or IR based smartphone.
Realizing the importance mobile devices are likely to play on the industry the team at Logitech is taking the Logitech Harmony line of universal remotes to a whole new level, focusing on traditional and new-form navigation while also bringing mobile devices into the mix.
The new Harmony Ultimate features buttons, touchscreens, and Logitech’s easy to follow universal remote setup via web-based interface. The $349 remote then goes further, offering the Harmony Smartphone app suite which allows users to control their TV with a smartphone should their expensive remote go missing.
Realizing that not every user wants to drop $350 on a universal remote Logitech’s Harmony Smart Control runs $129 and includes a primary smartphone based universal remote alongside a small physical remote for backup purposes.
The best part? Both remotes work with pretty much every home entertainment device you own. Users of the Philips Hue lighting system can even use the remove for home lighting purposes. The remote offers WiFi and IR blasters to ensure compatibility even if the device is not easily reachable.
Will smartphones inevitably take over a large chunk of the universal remote business? In many ways they already have. On the other hand there will always be users who don’t want a smartphone in their hands 24/7 and they will like flock to devices such as the Logitech Harmony Ultimate.
The Harmony Ultimately will arrive in the US later this month and the Harmony Smart Control arrives in May.
Are you ready to ditch your universal remote for a smartphone based app? The Samsung Galaxy S IV has IR capabilities!
[Image via Pocket-Lint]