Will GE’s $15 Wink connected lights get a $250 souped-up wall switch?

7 Comments

Credit: Dave Zatz

This fall is going to be an amazing time to be shopping for connected lights, as Samsung, GE, Philips Hue and others all have products in a wide range of prices hitting store shelves.

I’m super excited to see the GE light bulbs that are set to work with the Wink system and the Wink hub sold at Home Depot stores. One, the white lights are dimmable and only $15 a pop, which is about as much as a nicer non-connected LED costs. And now, according to Dave Zatz who follows the space, those bulbs might interface with a super fancy wall switch that includes a 4.3 inch touch screen.

The “switch” would include two actual programmable light switches next to a touch screen that control the other elements of your smart home on the wall. The product listing Zatz unearthed notes that the whole wall plate would have temperature, humidity, and proximity sensors as well as a microphone and speaker to act as an intercom.

Zatz scored his scoop from a cached Amazon listing that shows the specs and a $250 price tag, putting this switch at the high end of the current wall switch market. Most current connected wall switches range from $40 to $70 but don’t have touch screens. However, a new generation of connected switches are in the works, with the makers of the LIFX light bulb planning something that I’ve been told could be the “new UI for the internet of things,” to a long-anticipated product from Plum (formerly Ube) that most of its backers have given up hope on.

Even fancier options exist in higher-end systems like those from Control4 or Savant. And a few of the service provider systems also offer touch screens for controlling the system, although they usually aren’t integrated in with physical switches. The price tag is a bit much, and I am not sure I like the idea of a touch screen embedded on too many walls of my home, but this signals that the market is finally recognizing that while the smart phone has enabled the smart home, most people would like to put their device down every once in a while.

7 Comments

Rudolf

Would the GE lights work with Philips’ batteryless energy harvesting lightswitch? I find that personally a much easier and practical solution

jjj

Oh come on , the solution are wrist based devices , it’s one of the few reasons for those devices to even exist.
It’s so much cheaper and easier. Ofc once someone makes a decent bracelet, not the existing caricatures.

Dave Z

Does every resident and visitor in my home need a bracelet? Maybe we check them at the door like 3D glasses at the movie house. (I haven’t worn a watch since oh Windows Mobile 5.)

Yakov G

I’ve had tablets mounted on walls running my own home backed android home automation software for years. Each tablet was <$200, $250 — for a 4 inch display? I can check the weather, control lights, blinds, locks, thermostats and check security cameras, the baby monitor and just about anything else you can do on a tablet. GE is reaching here, it's not geeky enough for real HA enthusiasts and too geeky for general consumers — so who is it for?

Stacey Higginbotham

I think the hope is that consumers move up market into the geekier realms much like the iPhone helped turn people on to the beauty of the internet on your phone in a way the early-gen Nokia smart phones couldn’t.

Jonathan Frankel

$250 sounds pricey, but it certainly makes sense to have a wall-mounted access point. Turning your lights on/off via your phone takes significantly longer than hitting a switch. App control alone may appeal to us geeks, but the smart home won’t make inroads into the broader population without a better (read: simpler) interface.

Comments are closed.