After strolling around the CES showfloor earlier this year and spotting an array of lighting products boasting some type of connected technology, it doesn't take a genius to figure out that light bulbs are going to be among the next products to smarten up. LG is joining the mix with what it hopes will turn out to be a bright idea of its own--a light bulb you can control from your smartphone.
The LG Smart Lamp is a 10-watt LED bulb that uses Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to connect with your mobile device. Using a mobile device running iOS 6 or later or Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, you can adjust the brightness of the light--or turn it off altogether--without having to get up and flick a switch.
That's the basic functionality, and that would put LG's offering in the same class as Philips' Hue wireless LED bulbs. But LG is promising a few other features that it hopes will help the Smart Lamp stand out from the smart lighting crowd. While my Korean is a little rusty, a translated version of LG's announcement suggests that the Smart Lamp will have an alarm feature: You can set the lamp to slowly increase the amount of light in the room, allowing you to wake up naturally instead of getting jarred out of bed by a beeping, blaring monstrosity.
The lamp's Security Mode can turn on the lights when you're not home--think of it as a high-tech version of a thief-deterring light timer--and a Play mode can make the light blink and flash in time to music, at least for Android users. (If that Play mode sounds a bit silly to you, I saw a connected lamp at CES called Holi that promises a similar feature, which could be appealing if you're the type who does a lot of entertaining.) You can also use the Smart Lamp's companion app to make the light bulb blink whenever you have an incoming phone call--a feature that sounds more annoying than helpful, honestly.
LG says its Smart Lamp bulb costs 35,000 Korean won--that's around $32. If that sounds like a lot to pay for a light bulb, it's in line with similar products. And LG would like you to know that this smartbulb should last you 10 years (assuming the bulb is in use for an average of 5 hours a day).
Before you get too excited about a future where you can perform the equivalent of a Vulcan mind-meld with your lamp, it's unclear when (or if) LG's Smart Lamp will make it to the U.S. The product is debuting in South Korea; LG's press release was mum about plans for this side of the Pacific Ocean.