Sengled's making a smart speaker LED that listens, too

Still an early prototype, the Sengled Voice LED is the brand's latest smart speaker bulb -- and you'll be able to control it by talking to it.

Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
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Ry Crist
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The Sengled Voice Control LED.

Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Sengled's been making smart bulbs that double as speakers for a few years now, but their next bulb's going to listen, too. Still an early prototype, the bulb is the Sengled Voice LED, and Sengled says we'll start seeing it in the back half of this year, with pricing yet to be determined (previous Sengled speaker bulbs have sold for $60 each or more -- roughly £40, or AU$85).

Just like the name suggests, you'll be able to control the Sengled Voice LED by talking to it. That includes telling the bulb to dim up and down, and also controlling the playback of whatever music might be streaming through its built-in speakers.

I asked Sengled's team how those voice controls will work -- the answer is that they aren't sure yet. The plan as of now is for the bulbs to use a wake phrase like "Alexa" or "OK Google" that would tell them to start listening for a command.

However, Sengled also tells me that the bulbs will keep an ear out for things like the smoke alarm or your baby crying -- if it hears anything amiss, it'll send you a notification using its built-in Wi-Fi radio. If it's your baby crying, you could speak to her through the bulbs, or tell them to stream her a lullaby.

Sengled isn't alone in the speaker bulb game. Earlier today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Sony showed off a music playback bulb of its own -- no voice control with that one, though.

The smart-home products of CES 2016 (pictures)

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In addition to the Voice LED, Sengled offered a preview of the Sengled Link, a new device that'll let you sync Sengled Pulse speaker bulbs with your TV for a bulb-powered surround-sound setup. Like the Voice LED, there's no firm date or pricing info set just yet -- when we know more, we'll let you know.