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Samsung gets into smart lighting with Bluetooth bulbs

Not to be outdone by rival LG, Samsung is getting in on the smart lightbulb market.

Samsung's smart bulb will use Bluetooth to connect with a smartphone or tablet, and users can install an app to control up to 64 bulbs at once. The bulbs can be dimmed down to 10 percent brightness and offer adjustable white levels. Each bulb is estimated to last for 15,000 hours.

Unlike LG's Smart Lamp and Philips' Hue, Samsung isn't offering Wi-Fi connectivity. While that means no additional equipment is necessary for controlling nearby lights, it also rules out controlling the lights from outside the home. Philips' Hue, by comparison, uses a bridge device that connects to the user's home wireless router for full remote access. (LG's upcoming bulbs will offer both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.)

It's also unclear whether Samsung's bulbs will have any of the extra features that LG and Philips offer. Philips' Hue bulbs can produce a range of colors beyond just white. LG, meanwhile, is promising a way to gradually turn on the lights in the morning, and to blink when you have an incoming phone call.

Home automation—and smart lighting in particular—is becoming an increasingly crowded field. In addition to LG, Samsung and Philips, Belkin offers smart lighting as part of its WeMo home automation system, and TCP offers a smart lighting system of its own.

Still, these bulbs are much more expensive than regular LED lighting—let alone conventional incandescent bulbs—and that's before factoring in the cost of extra equipment. Energy savings from home automation can help defray the cost, but smart bulbs are still a bit of a luxury item.

Samsung hasn't announced pricing or a release date for its own smart bulbs.

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