Philips is to release a revamped version of its iOS and Android app for controlling Hue smart lights later this month.
The new app, which is dubbed Hue 3.0, will replace the current version, introduce a new design and bring back many of the abandoned features from version 1. The company has also promised that the new app will be faster to use.
A big change that's immediately noticeable is a visual overhaul of the design. Everything is now contained in rounded boxes rather than full screen and this gives it a much more modern feel in-keeping with both iOS 11 and the latest versions of Android.
The app is still broken down into four sections: Home, where you control your rooms or garden; Routines, which allows you to set things like wake up and sleep timers; an Explore area for discovering more with other apps or Hue Labs; and a Settings panel for room/light/accessory setups.
Home is where you'll mainly hang-out. It's here you can quickly see what's on or off and what general lighting effect you are running.
Click on a room and you're now presented with a much easier management panel listing the lights you've got in that room, what colour they are selected to show and the ability to group them easily, as was the case in version 1.
It's also here you can access the pre-created scenes from Philips. You can create your own too, by simply uploading a photo you've taken. There are now 30 pre-created scenes, including those inside different categories for Dawns, Daylights, Dusks, City lights and Twilights.
Within those categories there are Midsomer Sun, Osaka and Blood Moon to get you into the mood of things. Depending on how many lights you have, the effectiveness of the scenes will vary. The more lights the better.
If you don't want to use the app at all, that's fine. The system now supports Siri, Google Assistant and Alexa, enabling you to simply speak your lighting needs to your phone or a nearby AI powered speaker.
We've been using the app for some time in beta and it is certainly easier and faster to use. The interface gets a much needed "modern" and fresher look.
Unfortunately, there are still a number of new features we'd like to see. We would love the ability for the colours to change over a given time, for example, either to emulate a sunset, a candle, or even just for disco lighting in your house.
The new Philips Hue app will be released for both iOS and Android later this month. It’ll be a free update.