Slated for release on Wednesday, the previously announced update will essentially turn the Invoke into a “dumb” Bluetooth speaker, Paul Thurrott reports.
An FAQ on Karman Kardon’s support site says the update will install itself silently in the background over Wi-Fi. Once the update is applied, the speaker will no longer respond to “Hey Cortana,” nor will it connect to Wi-Fi anymore.
Microsoft says it will give anyone with an “active” Invoke a $50 gift card in compensation for the lost functionality.
In our 2017 review of the Invoke, we called it “pretty good” but “too immature” to recommend, partly due to our doubts about Cortana’s viability in the face of Amazon’s Alexa “juggernaut.”
The other shoe dropped a year later, with Microsoft announcing that it would end support for third-party Cortana skills and drop the Cortana apps for iOS and Android. In the same announcement, Microsoft said it would also pull Cortana from the Invoke smart speaker and from its own Surface headphones.
The move effectively ends Microsoft’s attempt to turn Cortana into a smart home platform, but Cortana isn’t quite dead, or at least not yet.
Instead, Microsoft said Cortana would “shift toward a transformational AI-powered assistant experience in Microsoft 365.”
Ben has been writing about technology and consumer electronics for more than 20 years. A PCWorld contributor since 2014, Ben joined TechHive in 2019, where he covers smart speakers, soundbars, and other smart and home-theater devices. You can follow Ben on Twitter.