Phillips “Hue” App Controlled LED Light Bulbs Go On Sale, Apple Jumps On Board

Getting that fancy, smartphone controlled home of the future won’t be so difficult (or expensive) anymore thanks to new, lower cost options. The once out of reach for many home automation market is now becoming a reality to many people thanks to things like hte NEST smart thermostat, and now, Phillips Hue LED “smart bulb”.

While Phillips isn’t the first to enter the world of smartphone control via mobile apps, they are the first to crack into Apple’s retail store alongside the NEST according to Mashable. The physical retail presence will give Phillips a leg up on the competition, and hopefully down the line, make such devices even more affordable as popularity increases and costs to manufacture/distribute them decrease.

As for the bulbs themselves, they operate on the open zigbee standard which Phillips hopes more manufacturers jump on board with. The particular starter pack you can get for $199 (online and from Apple) comes with the wireless bridge and 3 LED bulbs. Additional bulbs can be had for $59/bulb. (The wireless bridge in the starter pack will support up to 50 LED bulbs.)

Operation is simple: plug in the LED bulbb, plug in the wirless bridge to your router, let it find the bulbs, and open your smartphone app. Viola!

According to Phillips, their LED bulbs will last ~15 years with 15,000 rated hours of life and consume just one-fifth of the energy over the life of each bulb.

One thing to consider for now is that the bulbs only fit in “standard” lamps. Lamps such as spot lamps and downlights aren’t supported yet, though Phillips is actively working on bringing different types of bulbs to market to cater to these different scenarios and uses.

Getting exposure on the Apple retail shelf is pretty much a sure-fire way to gain popularity and sales exponentially. On that same token, if Apple has decided you’re worth putting on their own shelves, you and your company must have done something right along the way. Apple doesn’t just put anything in their stores, especially 3rd party accessories and products. We’re hoping the Phillips LED smart bulbs are a hit and are eagerly awaiting our chance to pick up a few starter kits (and a NEST too) to bring our humble abodes a bit more up to speed.

More: Wired | Mashable