LG has launched the Smart Bulb in Korea, a light bulb that connects with Android and iOS devices, providing several interesting features. The 10W LED bulb will let you control lighting in the house with a smartphone, and it can also flash-alert when you get a phone call. Other features include a security mode which makes it look like you're at home when you're away, as well as pulsating to the tune of music (but only on Android devices).
The bulbs should run for more than 10 years, provided you use them five hours a day, LG claims. LG's Smart Bulb is not the only connected light bulb around. Recently, a company called AwoX announced a light bulb that can double as a Bluetooth speaker. We've also seen several Kickstarter projects to create a connected light bulb; the Wi-Fi enabled LIFX is one example.
The price for the LG Smart Bulb is 35,000 won ($32) in Korea; there's no word when the device might come to the U.S.
For over 100 years, the light bulb didn't evolve much, generally sporting the same, well, bulbous design ever since Thomas Edison gave us the original in 1879. Lately that's changed as LEDs and CFLs have challenged the conventional bulb, and now Philips is taking light bulb design in a new, flatter direction.
The SlimStyle looks like a light bulb that's hit the gym. It emits light at a brightness equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, but it's powered by an LED (light-emitting diode), meaning it consumes just 10.5 watts. It also has a rated lifetime of 22 years, so you can count the number of times you'd need to change the bulb in a human lifetime on one hand.
The most novel thing about the SlimStyle, though, is its design. At first glance, it looks shaped like a regular bulb, but when you look at it from the side you can see how slim it is. It still fits in a normal socket, so it's not overly thin, but it's definitely unusual — and easier to screw in.
I got a little hands-on time with the SlimStyle. The light it produces is as warm as an incandescent bulb and it's extremely consistent, with no flicker. It feels more durable, too, with an exterior that's more like hard plastic than glass (though I didn't stress-test it). Unlike some of those twisty CFL bulbs, The LED-based SlimStyle is dimmable.
LED lights are considered by many to be the most promising candidate to fully replace the incandescent bulb since they consumer far less power and don't have the trace amounts of toxic mercury found in CFL bulbs. Starting Jan. 1 they'll get a big boost when a federal law goes into effect that will make it illegal to manufacture or import traditional 60- or 40-watt incandescents.
"Right now we're at a really exciting point because LED bulbs have started to break the $10 mark, and fall well below it once you factor in subsidies," says Sal Cangeloso, author of LED Lighting: A Primer to Lighting the Future. "We're still not at the point of mass adoption — it's not entirely clear where that is — but right now we have two significant factors coinciding: dropping prices and the the phase-out of 40W and 60W incandescents going into effect."
The Philips SlimStyle bulb goes on sale January 2 exclusively at HomeDepot.com.
The bulbs cost $9.97 a pop.