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The first Made-for-Google GE lightbulbs don’t require a hub and make using your smart bulbs as easy as saying, ‘Hey, Google’.
One of the primary obstacles that prevents people from immersing themselves in smart home technology is the idea of a difficult setup. In today’s growing smart home space, easy, seamless connections are more important than ever. To date, using Google Assistant to control your lighting away from your phone has typically meant shopping for both a smart speaker and bulbs with a hub serving as a go-between, such as Philips’ Hue. No more, because C by GE has introduced a new line of light bulbs that connect seamlessly and automatically pair with any Google Home speaker through Bluetooth and show up in the Home app. Rather than go through a sometimes-complicated setup process, just screw in the light bulb and load up your Google Assistant app. This exclusive lighting collaboration with Google means turning the bulb on or off, is as simple as screwing in a lightbulb and saying, “Hey, Google”
You can also control the lights from the Google Home app, as well as set up more advanced features like routines and schedules. This means you won’t need multiple apps on your phone to control the two different devices. The bulbs and Google Home connect via Bluetooth, which frees up your Wi-Fi network for other uses.
You can still use Assistant on your phone, and existing C by GE owners don’t have to replace their illumination. This is more about providing value to newcomers to smart lights who don’t want the expense or complexity of a hub. You’ll see that reflected in the pricing. C-Life bulbs have a single color setting, but you have total control over the brightness level. C-Sleep bulbs have three color options and are designed to support your Circadian rhythm, promoting a more natural sleep/wake cycle. While you can buy ordinary C-Life (everyday use) and C-Sleep (night-oriented) two-packs for $25 and $35, respectively.
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Google will offer a “Smart Lighting Starter Kit” which comes with a pre-paired Google Home Mini and a single C-Life bulb for $55. The $10 discount over a separate purchase isn’t that steep, but you’re also getting a kit where voice control is enabled out of the box. The kit is available for purchase at the Google Store, Best Buy, Lowe’s, and Target. While this makes it easy for new users to jump right in, existing owners of Google Home and/or C by GE bulbs should also be able to sync the two together.
GE also launches $50 hub to connect its Bluetooth smart lights to Google Assistant
The strength of C by GE smart light bulbs has always been that they’re really easy to get started with, since they rely on Bluetooth and connect directly to a phone, so there’s no need for a hub. The downside has been that they were pretty limited beyond that. Because they only use Bluetooth, you can’t control them remotely or set up complicated routines very easily, since the bulbs don’t connect to much else. GE is solving that problem by announcing a hub called the C-Reach hub, that connects C by GE lights to Wi-Fi so that they can be controlled by the Google Assistant remotely as well. The C-Reach hub is a useful addition to the product line that starts to make it a lot more capable.
C-Reach costs $50 on its own, but GE will also sell it bundled with pairs of bulbs at a discount — $65 for two “Life” bulbs (single color option) and $85 for two “Sleep” bulbs (three color options).
GE is running some sales on all of its C lighting line, making things a bit cheaper if you buy right away. The two bulb and a hub starter kits will sell for $50 and $65, instead of $65 and $85. And GE’s Sol lamp will go on sale for $100 on its own or bundled with four C bulbs for $120.