Philips Hue adds Bluetooth Capability to Bulbs
Philips Hue uses ZigBee and with that there is a need for the Hue bridge to talk to these bulbs, however now they have made things even easier with the release of new bulbs that have Bluetooth built in, this means there is no need for a bridge.
New Philips Hue Bluetooth Bulbs
If you already have lots of Hue bulbs around your home, don’t worry this doesn’t change anything for you, your set up will continue to work and is still supported, the newer bulbs have both ZigBee and Bluetooth functions, so they can be added to your set up too.
No Hub Needed
With Bluetooth function you can control bulbs without the need for a hub or ZigBee, you will be able to control bulbs directly via your phone and the Bluetooth Hue app.
The number of Bluetooth phones you can control is limited by your phone or tablet device, you will also be limited by the range when changing your bulb as Bluetooth connectivity isn’t designed for long distances.
These bulbs will work with Amazon Alexa where you can ask alexia to dim the lights or turn on and off. Coming soon these bulbs will also be able to work with Google assistant too.
From the press release:
“Users can start with a single light bulb or instantly connect multiple Hue Bluetooth products, and later seamlessly upgrade to the bridge to enjoy even more functionalities. Using the Philips Hue Bluetooth app, you can:”
- Use on/off control and dim or brighten the lights to your preferred setting
- Choose from millions of colors and any shade of white light to paint the wall and Instagram your space
- Use the pre-set scenes to set the mood or to match your daily routine
- Control your lights with ease as multiple users can control the same lights
This graphic shows the use of the Bluetooth bulbs, it’s limitations and how it compares to use with a Bridge.
These new bulbs will be first available in the US and then Europe later in the year. You can spot the new bulbs with the Bluetooth logo in the top right of the box, as well as a small grey bluetooth logo on the bulb itself.
The bulbs can already be pre-ordered on Amazon with a release date of 30th June expected.
Philips Hue Bluetooth App
If you don’t have a bridge then you will need to use the Hue Bluetooth app which can be downloaded for iOS and Android.
The app will let you:
This is great for people who are looking to move over to a smart bulb, and this will allow consumers to buy a single bulb and control it via their phone without the need and additional cost of the Hue bridge.
While this is great for first time Hue users, the drawback is Bluetooth, and that it has such a short range, you can only control the bulbs if you are in the room with them, and not too far away. If you are upstairs you won’t be able to turn your downstairs kitchen light on or off as it likely won’t connect.
For users that already have Hue lights the bulbs have ZigBee too and therefore makes no real difference to the use of them for users with a bridge in their set up. The bridge is here to stay, and this is more about reaching out to more users.
By adding Bluetooth it opens up the market to users who can try it out before buying a bridge.
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