It might not be the best day to announce a new light bulb, but at least Philips’ hue isn’t just any old light bulb.
It is a light bulb that you can control with your iPhone, iPad, or Android phone. Yes, with an app, you can not only turn on and off the light when you are away from home, but you can also customize the color of the light.
How does it all work? The starter kit, which starts at $199, comes with a smart bridge, a gadget that plugs into your home’s WiFi router. That bridge connects to the LED bulb and then the 600 lumen LED bulb connects to the hue app on your phone. The bulbs screw into your existing fittings, just like any normal light bulb.
The secret sauce is really in the app though. That’s where you can control the light with some pretty advanced features, including matching the color of the light to a color on any photo; the bulbs supports any color on the RGB spectrum, which equals 16 million different colors.
You can also say goodbye to those old light bulb timers; you can set the light to turn on and off at a specific time and even wake you up with a “gentle wake up” setting. Lastly, you can control up to 50 bulbs from the single app.
Other companies have announced WiFi equipped light bulbs, but Philips is the first to bring it to market for consumers. It is based on ZigBee Light Link standard, which other companies such as Sylvania and GE are also working with.
The $199 hue starter kit, which contains three light bulbs and the bridge, goes on sale on Oct. 30 at Apple stores. The rub? Additional bulbs cost $59, while the average LED light bulb costs much less — about $16 on Amazon. Hey, no one ever said replacing the light switch with your phone was going to be cheap!