Philips is starting to look like the Apple of smart lighting as GE joins Samsung and LG offering low-cost smartphone-controlled LED bulbs, with the GE Link range.
The pure white low-energy, long-life bulbs have gone on sale in the US at just under $15 – roughly £10 – compared to £30 for the pure white Hue Lux.
They’re controlled using the Wink smart home app via the ZigBee wireless standard, through a plug-in WiFi hub that costs $30 or $50 with a three-bulb starter pack.
“Our very own Thomas Edison built the first commercially viable bulb, and today we’re proud to announce the first commercially viable connected bulb designed for Wink users,” said John Strainic, general manager of North America Consumer Lighting for GE.
“We know the quality of light consumers love and want in their homes, and we’re a brand they trust.”
GE’s Links have a fixed colour temperature from the $15 soft white 60W-equivalent bulb at 2700K, up to a bright 90W-equivalent spotlight at 3000K, costing $25 each. Each bulb should last more than 20 years.
In contrast, the Hue Lux bulbs offer a tuneable brightness to suit the time and location, and they’ll be available in the UK this summer while there’s no date yet for GE Link to leave the USA.
The Wink app goes live on July 7, and promises to combine nearly 60 products from at least 15 companies including GE, Philips, and Honeywell, which makes not only Evohome smart energy control but a smart lighting system called Astral.
Wink-friendly products are expected to include video cameras, garage doors, water heaters and lawn sprinklers as well as lights, all sold through DIY giant Home Depot.
Interestingly, the Wink hub will combine Bluetooth Smart, ZigBee and Z-Wave, hopefully streamlining the boggle of competing un-standards which threatens mainstream take-up of smart home technology.
GE’s announcement of the Link lights also skips past Apple’s recently-announced HomeKit, although Philips has already announced it’s in with the iOS extension.