Released last fall to the adoration of design blogs, Hue provides enough innovations to the way we light up our homes to make you long for the days when a wall-mounted light switch will be a techological relic.
A Hue kit--sold for $199 at the Apple store-- come with four wireless LED bulbs, a wireless hub, and an app that you download for your smartphone or tablet and use to communicate with the bulbs, up to 50 at a time.
The LEDs can shine at any color on the spectrum, and, with a click, will absorb the exact color from a photograph on your phone. Or you can rely on Hue’s premixed color "recipes," which are tested to promote relaxation, concentration, energy, or reading.
Philips isn’t the only player in the game, of course. About the same time that Hue was announced, the Kickstarter drive for LIFX, another Wi-Fi-enabled LED, knocked it out of the park by raising $1.3 million, more than 10 times its goal. LIFX ups the ante by promising to "visualise your music with animated colors" and integrating with Facebook and Twitter for notifications.