5th October 2014
Samsung is joining competitors LG and Philips on the bulb train with the debut of its first-ever “smart” LED lightbulb.
The (appropriately named) Bluetooth-powered Smart Bulb will launch at the Light + Building 2014 trade show in Frankfurt, Germany next week. Using Bluetooth instead of Wi-Fi, “eliminates the need for a bridge and wireless AP, enabling the user to connect and control it directly from a smartphone or tablet PC,” Samsung said.
With one app, users can control up to 64 Smart Bulbs with no additional equipment or setup required.
So what, exactly, does that get a potential purchaser? For starters, the bulb can be dimmed all the way down to a 10 percent brightness level via a smartphone or tablet connection. Owners will also be able to adjust the bulb’s spectrum from 2700K (arm white) to 6500K (cool white), which is a pleasant touch for those who can never seem to make up their minds in the lightbulb aisle of their local hardware store.
“Based on our extensive experience with semiconductor and LED technology, as well as our knowledge of the appliances industry, we are in a unique position to deliver exciting smart solutions for the LED Lighting industry,” said Hee-Chong Yoon, vice president of LED lamp marketing at Samsung, in a statement. “Our ultimate goal is to connect the digital dots in our customers’ lives and Samsung is well positioned to deliver LED solutions for the Smart Homes of the future.”
Samsung puts the lightbulb’s lifespan at approximately 15,000 hours, or roughly 10 years of use. What it’s not talking about just yet, however, is the lightbulb’s price. Smart lightbulbs tend to carry a bit of a higher price tag than your average LED bulb (and certainly more than your average CFL), but it’s completely up in the air as to what Samsung plans to charge for its new Smart Bulb. Here’s hoping that it’s in the same general range as the competition: The Philips Hue ($59), LG’s Smart Lamp ($32) — which may or may not make it to U.S. markets — and the much more expensive Lifx bulbs ($99 for the Edison Screw variant), to name a few.
Also, one more caveat: Samsung’s Smart Bulb, unlike others, comes in a single color — white. You won’t be able to shift its colors to red, blue, or anything else using a mobile device, which does put a bit of a dent in one’s planned disco parties.