Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Philips Hue smart LED bulbs to be sold exclusively in Apple stores

LED lightbulbs are being pushed as better than CFLs, and certainly, starting Tuesday, they will be infinitely more programmable. That message was conveyed in Philips' Monday press release, introducing its Hue line of color-changing, app-enabled, and sold only through Apple stores.

That's right, Philips has chosen to only sell its Hue bulbs through Apple stores, at least for now. Sales begin on Oct. 30, and in case you were wondering, these bulbs are not cheap.

LED bulbs are already pricey, and a starter kit runs $199. The kit consists of three 50W bulbs and one wireless bridge, which is plugged into your home router. That's right, the age of wireless networks being required in homes is rapidly approaching.

The bridge IDs the bulbs on your network, and you can then use an iOS app to control the bulbs. Philips also sells a four pack of bulbs only for $59; based on that and the description in its press release, it appears the the bridge is capable of controlling more than the three bulbs that come in the starter pack.

In addition to being able to control the intensity and warmth of the bulbs, you can use the iOS app to set timers or control the lights' colors. Philips is offering up an open source platform to allow developers to create their own Hue-capable offerings.

One thing that is unclear is if the fact that these bulbs are being sold exclusively through Apple puts the kibosh on an Android app. It's also unclear if Philips' platform will allow developer to create anything besides iOS apps.

You can watch a Philips demo video, embedded.

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