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Light Bulbs

Lifx teases color-changing candelabra bulbs at CES 2019

The multicolor bulbs look great and should arrive by the end of the year. But they might be awfully expensive.

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Multicolor candelabra bulbs, coming soon from Lifx.

Ry Crist/CNET

Lifx is adding color-changing candelabra bulbs to its lineup of smart LED lights, the company tells me at CES 2019 here in Las Vegas. Pricing isn't set yet, but Lifx expects them to launch in the third quarter of 2019.

What makes these lights especially interesting is that they can put out multiple colors at once -- a fairly uncommon feature, even among larger-sized smart bulbs. That lets them simulate a flickering flame, or put out some of the same animated, tie-dye-type effects that you get with the multicolor Lifx Tile wall panels.

The controls for the bulbs are similar to the Tiles, too. Along with controlling and automating them, you'll be able to paint designs onto each bulb by dragging your finger over a bulb-shaped canvas in the Lifx app. Lifx tells me that each color-changing diode inside of the bulb is its own individual zone of light. That adds up to a total of 30 zones that you can paint colors across.

You can paint colors onto the bulb by dragging your finger across a bulb-shaped canvas in the Lifx app.

Ry Crist/CNET

Beyond basic color control, Lifx claims that it sees growing interest in smart lighting that feels artistic and expressive. "It feels like the tide is shifting," Lifx CEO Tim Peters tells me, expressing hope that the candelabra bulbs will help scratch that itch for its customers.

The question is how much these things will ultimately cost at launch. It'll likely be a lot. Color-changing candelabra bulbs from Philips Hue currently sell for about $50 each -- and those only put out one color at a time. It wouldn't surprise me if the multicolor Lifx versions cost even more, which could fast get prohibitively expensive for folks looking to upgrade a fixture with multiple bulbs in it.

When we know more on that front, we'll let you know -- and expect a full review from the CNET Smart Home as soon as the bulbs arrive.

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