Logitech's next living room move makes greater use of your Android smartphone

Using your Android smartphone to control your home entertainment system isn't exactly a new concept, especially for Logitech, maker of one of the first Google TV set-top boxes. And today, the company -- which actually is getting out of the remote control business -- announced a pair of new devices that make even greater use of your Android smartphone.

As you'd expect, the new lineup -- comprising the Logitech Harmony Ultimate and Logitech Harmony Smart Control -- includes remote controls, but that's just half the story.

The Logitech Harmony Smart Control

Perhaps the more important of the two new sets is the Logitech Harmony Smart Control. It uses the Harmony Hub -- a little IR/RF box not unlike the old Harmony Link -- that sits atop your entertainment system, allowing for total control via Logitech products. In addition to the traditional IR/RF duties, the Smart Control ties into your home WIfi network and works in conjunction with the Harmony Android application. 

This updated Smart Control comes with a fairly basic-looking remote control (though unlike its big brother it's got physical numerical buttons, a feature we're loathe to lose), and can control up to eight devices from anywhere in your home, without your phone physically having to "see" the Smart Control. Logitech boasts compatibility with a quarter-million devices and 5,000 brands. Plus, the new Harmony Hub feature will control the new Philips Hue lights.

The Logitech Harmony Smart Control runs $129 and is available for preorder now.

The Logitech Harmony Ultimate

If you're looking for a new high-end universal remote control, the Logitech Harmony Ultimate rounds out this release. It also includes the Harmony Hub, so you you can use your phone in conjunction with it, too. The Harmony Ultimate is available for preorder for $349.

Both the Logitech Harmony Smart Control and Harmony Ultimate are expected to be available this month in the U.S., and in Europe in May.

Phil Nickinson