Meet the Hue, an overpriced app-controlled lightbulb from Philips

How about a lightbulb that lets you personalize lighting settings and timers while you’re out, just by using an app for your iPhone or iPad? That’s what Philips set out to achieve with the Hue, “the world’s smartest LED bulb”, that it says consumes eighty percent less power than traditional bulbs. What’s more, the Hue uses the open ZigBee Light Link standard, allowing it to be integrated with other ZigBee certified systems.

The free app for iOS and Android devices invites you to change settings, pick any color for any of your bulbs or group them together to create moody presets. You can also program your bulb to turn on and off at different times of day and more.

Conveniently, the Hue is set to hit Apple stores on an exclusive basis starting tomorrow, October 30. That Philips is in a rush to release this product with a little help from one of the world’s most powerful brands actually speaks volume about the popular Lifx project which has already raised $1.3+ million on Kickstarter.

At any rate, the Hue doesn’t come cheap, which is a real downer. Read on for additional details and a nice promo clip…

Other features include timer capability to turn the Hue into your morning wake up call, the ability to set your lights to gradually brighten over time, use a photo on your iPhone to pick a color from, with your wireless bulbs reflecting the choice instantly. Hue bulbs cover all shades of white, from warm white light to cold with light, and a wide variety of color.

Presets for specific needs like relaxing, concentrating, energizing and reading will help getting you into the mood. A media release says the Hue is upgradeable and future-proof, “with the potential for more features to be downloaded and enjoyed in the future”.

A software update is available for your wireless bulbs…

I like the sound of that!

Mom, Can I have lighting like this when I grow up?

I’m personally most excited about a simple feature: being able to turn lights on or off remotely, fooling burglars into thinking I’m still in. The biggest hurdle to the Hue’s rapid uptake has gotta be its exorbitant price point.

For starters, you will need a $199 Hue starter kit comprised of the Hue bridge which provides wireless connectivity between up to fifty Hues and your broadband router. The Kit also contains three 50Watt Hue bulbs. If you need more bulbs, be prepared to shell out a whopping $60 apiece.

Yes, you read that right.

Now, Philips claims each bulb lasts as long as fifteen years, or 15,000 burning hours, though I doubt this will make you feel any happier realizing you will need to spend north of a thousand bucks to equip your home with these.

Here’s a nice promo clip that may ease the pain.

Philips is really determined to get the project off the ground as quickly as possible. The company is opening up the Hue app to the developer community and has created an open source platform at to mingle with other fellow developers, share your own light scenes and what not.

Would you ever consider the Hue at these prices?