Philips is rolling out updates to its iOS and Android apps, making it easier for you to control entire groups of Hue smart light bulbs at once.
Admittedly, this was never ever a huge problem to begin with; when we reviewed the Hue Bridge 2.0 last year we found it very easy indeed to group a trio of lights together as scenes and control them simultaneously.
What the latest version of the Hue app does is streamline things, letting you easily control the lighting in entire rooms en masse. Just as you could name individual Hues before, you can now umbrella a number of bulbs, label that ‘Kitchen’, ‘Bedroom’, or something a whole lot more family-friendly that what we did in our review.
This now makes it a lot easier for you to get entire rooms to conform to lighting schedules; you can have it so that all of the living room lights are set to come on at 7:00pm or whenever you normally get home from work, or if you’ve got a more erratic work/life balance then you can opt to turn on a GPS-powered feature from the app which’ll see the lights blossoming into life when you’re on your way home.
Another feature included in this update is a ‘Wake Up’ setting, that could help those who are having trouble getting going in the morning.
This will see your lights coming on at a certain time, gently fading in for a set number of minutes, in a manner designed to mimic the sunrise. There’s also a new ‘Nightlight’ recipe which features low levels of blue light, something that’s been linked to disrupted sleep cycles.
iOS and Android versions of the Philips Hue apps will be rolling out to the iTunes App Store and Google Play later today; we’ve been able to get some brief hands-on time with the new Android app. We’re keen to see how it interoperates with other HomeKit-approved platforms and Nest’s thermostat; Philips says that its smart lights will also play nicely with Amazon Alexa, Bosch and Samsung SmartThings-branded devices.
The Philips Hue starter kit costs £150 and includes a Philips Hue wireless bridge. This connects to your router and handles communications between smart devices. Extra individual Philips Hue colour bulbs cost £50 a piece.