In early July, Philips launched a brand new lineup of HUE smart lightbulbs that featured an additional Bluetooth connection component inside in addition to the pre-existing Zigbee wireless connection that HUE bulbs have had for years. The problem was that this was only a release of A19 type bulbs and didn't initially include other types of bulbs. Philips is now expanding that Bluetooth support to several additional types of bulbs, including ones with B22, E27, and GU10 connectors and sizes.
If your home is like mine, this will be a much-welcomed announcement for you. I have several different types of bulbs throughout my home, including GU10 light fixtures, as well as more traditional A19 and E27 ones as well. Right now there seems to be limited stock of these new types of HUE lightbulbs, but we expect Philips will be ramping up production and delivering new batches to distributors soon.
All of Amazon's listings include the non-Bluetooth HUE bulbs for the B22, E27, and GU10 types for now, but these should be updated very shortly. For now, you can always pick up the A19 type in your choice of a white-only 2-pack for $29.99, or a 2-pack of bulbs for $89.99 that can display white and millions of different colors as well.
All Philips HUE bulbs can be found at Meethue.com and will show all available types for your country. Be sure to look out for the Bluetooth icon in the top right-hand corner of each bulb's listing to ensure it's got Bluetooth support.
Why is the addition of Bluetooth such a big deal? Philips HUE bulbs aren't known for being cheap or inexpensive, and some of that higher cost exists because users need to purchase a separate Philips Hue Bridge, which normally retails for $60 by itself. This hub utilizes a wireless standard known as "Zigbee" to communicate with up to 50 bulbs in your home, which creates a safer environment for all your smart connected gadgets.
But adding Bluetooth to the mix provides another safe standard that can help users eliminate the $60 hub without losing all the functionality that comes with a set of smart lightbulbs. It's not nearly as convenient or customizable as adding a Philips Hue Bridge and connecting your lightbulbs to your favorite virtual assistant or other smart connected devices, but it also provides a way to interface with these types of bulbs without the need for extra configuration.
Smaller homes, flats, apartments and the like will likely see the most benefit from this new type of lightbulb, as it lowers the barrier of entry cost and provides a quick way of changing settings, colors and toggling lights on and off through a simple app on your favorite type of smartphone. These new bulbs still include the existing Zigbee wireless standard, too, so you won't have to worry about losing any kind of functionality with these bulbs, only gaining new options.
If your specific bulb type isn't quite available yet, we expect Philips to continue rolling out these new designs with Bluetooth functionality added over the coming months.