You now have a viable option if you want a high-end Google Assistant speaker that slots between the good-but-not-mind-blowing Home Max and Bang & Olufsen's ultra-premium Beosound models. Harman Kardon has unveiled the Citation 500, a smart speaker that touts 200W of stereo audio and high-resolution 24-bit/96kHz support in a compact form for $600/£649. That's a huge outlay for any smart speaker, but it's not so ridiculous that you'd rule it out if you're a stickler for sound quality. It's difficult to say for sure that it bests the Home Max when Google doesn't provide official wattage, but it could easily outperform much of what's on the market.
As it stands, the Citation isn't relying solely on audio prowess. It serves as a smart home hub, and an LCD on the top helps control playback when you're not shouting song requests. It's also relatively subtle as far as smart speakers go with wool coverings (black or gray) helping it blend into your decor.
Harman Kardon starts taking European pre-orders for the Citation in late September. There's no word on whether or not it'll be available in the US and other regions. Whether or not it does, Harman is obviously determined to cover all the bases. It already had speakers for three major voice assistants at middling prices. Now, however, it's branching out into the high-end category that has mostly remained untapped outside of B&O and higher-end Sonos setups (which don't yet work with Google Assistant). We wouldn't be shocked if Harman had more up its sleeve in the relatively near future.
Update 8/28/18 1:11PM ET: This post has been updated to reflect confirmed US pricing of $600 for the Citation 500. Harman says it will have more info about the US launch soon.
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