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If you’re not familiar with C by GE, it’s a brand of smart light bulbs that are controlled with your phone via Bluetooth. The bulbs connect to each other using wireless meshing to expand their reach.
While cheaper than competitors like Philips Hue, the bulbs have a had a slew of issues since launch, including various bugs with their app, a delayed launch of their Wi-Fi hub (C-Reach), and the delay of support for Apple’s HomeKit.
Now, GE may finally make good on their promise and bring HomeKit support to their smart light bulbs according to Engadget and Android Headlines. Engadget also claims GE is offering a new wall switch for controlling your bulbs.
C by GE is a product family of smart light bulbs from GE. They currently have four products: C-Life and C-Sleep bulbs, C-Reach, and Sol. The bulbs are somewhat more affordable than Philips Hue, but they don’t currently offer a bulb that changes color (only temperature) or light strips like Hue.
C by GE offers two types of bulb: C-Life and C-Sleep. The C-Life bulbs are billed as an everyday bulb and are available as a floodlight or general purpose bulb. They are dimmable, can be added to scenes or groups, and last 20 years. They have a maximum brightness of 800 lumens.
The C-Sleep bulbs are only available as a general purpose bulb and have a maximum brightness of 730 lumens. That being said, in additional to being dimmable you can choose from regular, cool, or warm lighting. Like the C-Life bulbs, C-Sleep bulbs can be added to scenes and groups and should—in theory—last 20 years. Both bulbs also support schedules.
After a long delay, GE finally released their C-Reach hub earlier this year, only problem was it still didn’t have HomeKit support as originally promised. Instead it had support for Amazon’s Alexa. In addition, GE said the device would be inexpensive, under $50. It is under $50, but only by one cent. C-Reach retails for $49.99
The C-Reach hub plugs into a wall outlet and links the bulbs to a Wi-Fi network. Once connected, users can control their bulbs remotely (out-of-home) and use voice control (limited to Alexa).
Sol is more interesting. It’s a smart lamp from C by GE. It features a stunning modern design and built-in voice control (via Alexa), but it can seem a bit gimmicky. Sol maintains the best reviews of the C by GE lineup, but whether or not it’s useful or gimmicky to have Alexa support in your bedside lamp remains to be seen.
Sol supports other C by GE features like groups and schedules, sleep/wake cycles, and can be controlled via the C by GE app or linked to C-Reach for out-of-home control. It also has visual indicator lights that can be used for timers, telling the time, and more.
Well, this is where things get a little confusing. As 9to5Mac points out, Engadget makes it sound like HomeKit support and the wall switch are available now; but, Android Headlines says the new features are coming first quarter of the year. Both sites also mention a new “ceiling fixture” that also doesn’t seem to be listed on GE’s site. We’ve reached out to GE for more information and will update the article if we hear back.
Once HomeKit support is added users will be able to control their bulbs remotely (using C-Reach) through Apple’s Home app or via Siri. Additionally, users will be able to setup scenes in the Home app that work with a variety of HomeKit supported devices.