While we’ll have to wait many more months for LIFX to bring their iPhone controllable LED light bulbs to market, you can buy Philips HUE right now, a comparable product that offers pretty much, if not the exact same thing.

The Philips HUE is an LED light bulb that can be controlled using your iOS or Android device.  Installing the HUE is a simple as plugging a box into your wireless router and a light bulb into a lamp.  Assuming the power to the light is turned on, you simply need to fire up the accompanying iOS or Android app, make sure you’re connected to your home’s wireless network, and presto, you can turn any lamp with a HUE light bulb on or off with your smartphone.   But that’s not all that the HUE can do.

Much like the LIFX light bulb that recently emerged on Kickstarter and broke $1 million in funding, the HUE can be set up to turn on at specified times, as well as controlled remotely any where you’ve got an Internet connection.  The LED bulbs can also be manipulated to change to any color of your liking, and increase or decrease in brightness (manually or with a timer).  You can even import a favorite picture, select a section of the photo, and the HUE will mimic the color.

The HUE is rated at 600 lumens, the equivalent of a 50 watt incandescent light bulb, though it will use far less (80%) energy and last a lot longer.  Philips has opted to use the open ZigBee Light Link standard so that it can be integrated with other ZigBee certified systems, and allow developers to tinker and add other features.

The Philips HUE goes on sale today at Apple stores only.  It will come in an individual HUE that can be purchased for $50.  Though you’ll want to drop $199 and get the Introduction Pack, which includes the necessary control box as well as three HUE light bulbs.  Of note, the HUE system is expandable to up to 50 lights, so mansions need not apply.

Christen Costa

Grew up back East, got sick of the cold and headed West. Since I was small I have been pushing buttons - both electronic and human. With an insatiable need for tech I thought "why not start a blog focusing on technology, and use my dislikes and likes to post on gadgets."