Samsung's Bluetooth-Only 'Smart Bulb' Is a Bit Dim
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Samsung’s late to the connected light bulb game, but today it finally arrived – and it's a bit of a disappointment.
The Korean electronics giant has just announced its Bluetooth-only (zero WiFi capability) smart bulb, unoriginally called “Smart Bulb.” And it’s not quite as bell-and whistle-filled as the ones already on the market from rivals LG and and Philips.
Sorry, there’s no Lumen mood-lifting rainbow “party mode” disco dance floor action here, folks. Only white and “cool white” energy-efficient lighting, and up to 10 years (or 15,000 hours) of it per bulb. And no syncing up with your playlists or lighting up when you’re smartphone rings.
The lightbulb will officially debut at next week’s Light + Building 2014 lighting and architecture trade show in Frankfurt, Germany.
Samsung’s Smart Bulb does, however, have a glimmer of an edge over LG’s WiFi- and Bluetooth-ready Smart Lamp and Philips’s Wi-Fi Hue: Because it’s purely Bluetooth-enabled, users won’t need a WiFi connection to control the dimmable light. They’ll be able control it (actually, up to 64 Smart Bulbs at the same time, if they want to go blindingly bright) directly from their tablet or smartphone. And, of course, there’s a Smart Bulb companion app for that, though it’s not available for download just yet. We assume iOS and Android devices will be supported, but that isn’t clear yet either.
On top of an app, Smart Bulb users will also need a ZigBee Bluetooth connected home automation hub that will allow them to directly control of all of their Samsung Bluetooth bulbs “from anywhere,” according to Samsung. It isn’t yet known if a ZigBee unit will have to be purchased separately.
The price for the Smart Bulb also remains unknown. LG’s Smart Lamp, which is still only available in its native Korea, rings up at $32. We hope Samsung’s smart new entrée is around the same price. We’re not big fans of colored mood lighting, so we’d give it a shot.