As reported by Tech Crunch,
Philips Hue bulbs are pretty great, but they have a mortal enemy: the humble light switch. If you’ve got a Hue bulb tied to a standard light switch, flipping that switch means the Hue bulb loses power completely… along with any fancy tricks like controlling the bulb through your phone or a voice assistant.
A few solutions for this exist, but mostly involve swapping out the switch in question for something with a bit more smarts. This morning Signify (the company previously known as Philips Lighting) announced an official solution that works with your existing switches, albeit with a caveat or two.
Called the “wall switch module,” it’s expected to ship later this year — spring if you’re in Europe, or summer if you’re in North America. Once wired up, it turns your existing light switch into something more like a Hue controller, allowing it to toggle between different light presets rather than simply cutting power.
At $40 each (or $70 for a two-pack), it’s… not cheap. Add in the fact that it’s powered by a battery (presumably to remove the need for a neutral wire and simplify installation) with an estimated lifespan of ~five years, this probably isn’t something you want to implement house-wide. But for a single light switch or two, it seems like a decent solution.
The company also announced a few new Hue accessories, in case you’re looking to expand your collection:
- A revised version of its portable dimmer switch, which will ship in February and cost $25. The separate on/off buttons are becoming a single toggle, and a “Hue” button is being added to let you trigger a specific lighting scene.
- A new light bar, the Philips Hue Amarant, which is meant to live outside and be mounted on the ground or an overhang. It’ll ship in March in North America, and cost $170 each (though you’ll also need an outdoor Hue power supply box, which will add $60-$70 to the price if you don’t have one already.)