A few years ago, there were two big names in the high-end smart bulb game – Philips Hue, which partnered with a dedicated Zigbee bridge, and LIFX, which worked via Wi-Fi, no extra white plastic box required. (We all know how much people hate the hubs and bridges that fill up their smart homes.) However, Zigbee-based Hue continued to become the Kleenex of smart lighting, while LIFX entered the market earlier this year.
However, there is good news for LIFX customers and the smart home in general. based in California Feit Electric stepped in and acquired LIFX by its bankrupt Australian owner Buddy Technologies and says it will keep LIFX alive.
“Feit Electric will offer the current LIFX product suite and plans to expand the line with innovations,” said Feit Senior Director of Global Marketing Dana Knight. The lip in an email. He also confirmed that the full line of LIFX products will continue to be manufactured and that Feit will maintain and develop the LIFX application and cloud platform. In addition, the LIFX Downlight will still be released this year and there are new products planned for 2023.
Originally a promising smart home Kickstarter success story, LIFX made its name selling high-quality, ultra-bright, color-changing light bulbs that connect directly to Wi-Fi and are compatible with Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit . Founded in 2012, the same year Philips Hue began life, the company was brimming with ideas and quickly expanded into various bulb shapes and light strip offerings, even developing a competitor in Nanoleaf light panels.
But by 2020, LIFX was sorely lacking in execution. Almost none of the products LIFX announced at CES that year came on the market, the light panels disappeared, and we haven’t seen anything from them since. But with this purchase, we now know that new LIFX lights are on the way.
Feit Electric is a global lighting brand that you may not have heard of but whose products you probably have. It is a major supplier of almost every type of light bulb and light fixture (including Wi-Fi enabled smart light bulbs). Her products are ubiquitous in stores such as The Home Depot, Costco and Lowe’s. “Our strength at Feit Electric is the strength of our supply chain, our manufacturing acumen and our relationships with a long list of key retail pillars in the US,” Knight said — which should help with its ongoing distribution issues. LIFX.
Feit’s smart home products will remain separate from LIFX, and Knight said the company will continue to develop both platforms (LIFX and Feit). “LIFX will remain its own line distinguished by the superior user experience that the custom platform can provide,” he said.
LIFX representative confirmed the acquisition on an active LIFX Reddit forumwhere many users have been complaining about cloud connectivity issues for the past few months and expressing concern that their bulbs are headed for obsolescence.
The post assured existing customers that Feit Electric will continue to support LIFX product owners worldwide. “We hope this move for the brand will reassure users and customers who have been nervous over the past couple of months about the continuity and continuity of the LIFX experience and ecosystem,” the anonymous employee wrote. The Fate Knight confirmed it The lip that most of the LIFX team based in Australia would continue to work with LIFX.
While LIFX has built a reputation for quality products and attempted a number of innovations (there are this infrared night vision light, and who can forget the germicidal bulb?), the smart lighting market is much more saturated than when the company started 10 years ago. There are hundreds of color changing Wi-Fi smart bulbs available on Amazon for much less than LIFX. of The A19 color bulb is $35. Meross will sell you one four pack for $50 (and yes, they work with HomeKit too).
There’s also the upcoming Matter smart home standard to contend with, which promises to make every device work with every platform. This negates one of LIFX’s key selling points: HomeKit compatibility. Knight confirmed that the plan is to support Matter in both LIFX and Feit Electric products. “Like everyone, we’re looking at which products might require hardware changes for support etc. Not all will be backwards compatible,” he said. “But we are aligned with the project’s goal and mission.”
But Feit will have to lean hard on this promised innovation front if it is to resurrect LIFX’s fortunes. While the demand for Philips Hue’s expensive products shows that there is an appetite for higher quality smart lighting, it needs to be supported with both a reliable platform and an innovative one.