We heard whispers back at CES that Samsung would be making some smart-lighting moves in 2014, and in March, the tech giant made things official by announcing a new Bluetooth-enabled smart LED. We learned a little more last week at Lightfair International, where Samsung showcased the new bulb as part of its expanded lighting lineup, shining a spotlight on the "industry-first mesh Bluetooth network" that powers its smarts.
That Bluetooth connection also means that the new smart bulb won't require a hub, but instead will connect directly with your phone. Samsung claims you'll be able to control up to 64 of them from one device at a range of up to 2,000 feet (a little over 600 meters). In theory, a mesh network would also get stronger and more robust with every bulb added, making for an appealingly scalable smart-home option.
Another highlight of the bulbs is their ability to change color temperature on demand. Whether it's a warm, incandescent-like 2,700K or a hot, bluish 6,000K that you're after, you'll be able to dial right in directly from the app.
Samsung calls this "color tuning," and it's similar to what Philips is offering with its new Hue Lux LEDs, which also change color temperatures. Other manufacturers seem to be interested in these sorts of white-light-only, color-changing smarts, too, since they provide an appealing middle ground between standard smart bulbs like the ones you'll find in the Connected by TCP kit and more expensive RGB color-changers, like Lifx, the Lumen LED, and Philips Hue LEDs.
There's no word yet on the bulb's wattage or how many lumens it puts out, but Samsung claims it'll last 15,000 hours (about 13 years at the industry-standard rate of 3 hours a day). That would put it behind other LEDs and even other smart LEDs, where 25,000 hours is the more common standard.
We're also waiting on pricing info for Samsung's smart bulb, but given that the Hue Lux will sell for $40 a bulb, and that LG's recently announced smart bulbs will sell for just above $30, I'd expect it to land somewhere in that range. (International pricing has yet to be announced, too, but these bulbs are expected to be available in countries beyond just the US.)