Harman launches Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant smart speakers

Two new voice-activated speakers were among the many products to be launched at IFA by Harman International.

The company, which is owned by Samsung, announced two new voice-activated speakers – the Harman Kardon Allure (pictured) and the JBL Link series.

The Allure features Amazon Alexa voice control and delivers 360-degree sound. The hands-free speaker can be controlled by voice commands and is said to be capable of hearing them in a noisy environment and from a distance.

“We’re excited to integrate with Amazon Alexa to deliver a beautiful speaker with astounding audio coupled with all the intelligent features of Alexa,” said Michael Mauser, president of the lifestyle audio division at Harman. “Research shows the number-one use of digital voice services is music streaming and Allure, with its premium sound quality, iconic design, and exceptional voice-enabled technology, will produce a spectacular sound experience while delivering on our promise of elevating a connected life through smart technology.”

JBL Link series
JBL Link series

The JBL Link series are the first voice-activated speakers to combine JBL’s “signature sound” with the Google Assistant.

The JBL Link series is hands-free and features the Google Assistant built-in and can control the device using simple voice commands, such as, “OK, Google”. It is available in three models – the Link 10, Link 20 and Link 300.

Mr Mauser commented: “We are thrilled to pair JBL’s incredible legacy of award-winning sound with our growing line-up of voice-controlled speakers. JBL Link is a first-class wireless smart speaker that allows consumers to entertain and enjoy world-class sound in a sleek package.”

The brand also used the show to introduce its new JBL Boombox – a portable speaker that offers up to 24 hours of listening experience.

JBL Bar Studio
JBL Bar Studio

Harman claimed that the speaker was the biggest portable speaker available, weighing in at 5.25kg and measuring 500mm long.

The JBL Bar series features a line-up of “high-performance” soundbars with incorporated Bluetooth 4.0 technology and Dolby Digital decoding. It boasts customisable options to fit any home-theatre environment.

The latest addition to the JBL E-series line of headphones, the new JBL E65BTNC over-ear model, offers wireless, active noise-cancelling technology.

It also offers up to 24 hours of playing time in Bluetooth mode and up to 15 hours with active noise-cancelling turned. It can be fully charged in two hours.

JBL Free in-ear headphones in hero black
JBL Free in-ear headphones in black

Also going wireless are the JBL Free in-ear headphones. The JBL Free is equipped with JBL’s signature sound, a built-in microphone and is Bluetooth-enabled.

Harman has also launched a new JBL Jr line of headphones, which includes both wired and wireless models. The headphones have been engineered for maximum enjoyment at volume levels that are safe for kids’ delicate ears.

The company has also expanded on its Sport headphone line-up, with two new additions that have been designed and tested by athletes. The models are also engineered with heart-rate monitoring capabilities, with athletes able to hear voice updates of their heart rate and access real-time data at the touch of a button.