Philips has achieved no small measure of success with its Hue LED lighting system, which is controlled by Philips' own Wi-Fi bridge and can be integrated into other connected-home systems, such as the Wink and Wink Relay. Now the company has introduced a new self-contained lamp that can operate on a base connected to a wall outlet or on its own internal battery for up the three hours.
The hemispherical design and translucent surface enables the Hue Go to cast its light in various directions. You can position it flat to direct its light up, or at an angle to cast accent lighting on a nearby wall or to illuminate an object of art or other point of interest. Touching a button on the bottom of the lamp cycles through seven effects--the usual warm white and cool daylight--plus five that Philips calls "natural dynamic effects:" Cozy Candle, Sunday Coffee, Meditation, Enchanted Forest, and Night Adventure.
Beyond that, the lamp is capable of producing more than 16 million colors. As with other Philips Hue products, the light can also be programmed to change in response to events--such as email arriving, or a change in the weather--when the Hue hub is connected to your Wi-Fi network and the Hue app is installed on your smartphone or tablet.
Like the original Philips Hue, the Hue Go won't be cheap: It will carry an MSRP of $100 when it ships in June. You'll also need a Hue bridge to manage it. A starter kit with two white-only Hue Lux bulbs and a bridge is priced at $80, while a kit with three color-changing bulbs and the bridge costs a cool $200.
Why this matters: LED light bulbs consume much less energy and last considerably longer than the incandescent models that are being phased out, and the light they produce is more pleasing to the eye than fluorescent models. LED bulbs remain more expensive to manufacture than both alternatives, though, and adding features such as variable colors drives the cost up even further.
Still, Philips has achieved significant traction in this space with its Hue product line. The bulbs have sold well, and manufacturers of other connected-home products have taken notice--Philips says its Hue bulbs are compatible with more than 300 other products.