The Philips Hue wireless lighting system is undoubtedly cool, but do you know what's probably cooler? A cheaper version from GE.
GE has unveiled a new product called Link. It's a connected LED lightbulb that you can remotely control from anywhere and sync to other connected devices. Link works with an app called Wink - the same app for Android and iOS devices that controls GE and Quirky's Aros air conditioner. You can use Wink to control one Link or even a group of Links. It has options to set timers, turn lights on or off by location, dim or brighten lights, etc.
Thomas Edison, the man often credited with inventing the first light bulb for commercial production and use, co-founded GE in 1892. More than 120 years later, it appears Edison's company is finally stepping into the 21st century, with single-colour lights that you can control using a smartphone app. Philips of course spearheaded the connected-lighting trend a few years ago, when it introduced the $200 Hue starter kit of colourful LED bulbs.
"Link eliminates the need for expensive add-ons typically associated with connected devices, making it an easy and cost-effective way for consumers to light up their smart homes," announced GE in a press release on Monday. "Starting below $15, the Link connected LED will be available for pre-order."
That's right. Starting 30 June, you can pre-order the Link at retail websites like HomeDepot.com. Link will hit stores in autumn, and the light bulbs will range from $15 each to $50 starter kits (includes the Zigbee-compatible Link hub that plugs into outlets). As for the Wink app, it is available as a free download from Apple's App Store or Google Play. You can go to the Winkapp.com website to learn more.
READ: Philips Hue review
It is probably still a little too expensive to throw away all your existing light bulbs in favour of Link, but GE's latest endeavour is an indication that home automation is another step closer to being both affordable and accessible for everyone.
No word yet on availability outside of the US. We've contacted GE for more details and hope to update soon.