Philips has announced a new range of color-change LED products designed to coexist peacefully with its chameleonesque iPhone-controlled hue light bulb. The Friends of hue range is open to independent product developers, but is being ushered in with two new Philips creations, LivingColors Bloom and the LightStrip.

Blooming 'eck

A pair of Philips' LivingColors Bloom would probably make quite a good alternative to Ambilight

Perhaps the more abstractly named of the new products, LivingColors Bloom is what those in the lighting industry would have once called a wall-washer: a light fitting you put on the floor or piece of furniture to cast light over the surface of a wall. It's a round light source that props itself up at a 45º angle thanks to an inbuilt prop-like-stand-type-thing.

As is the purpose of wall-washers, it looks as though Bloom (if I can call it that) casts a nice soft ambiance, though of course the kicker is you can choose from any one of 16 million colors in which to do so, controlled with a finger from the comfort of an armchair (with a bit of help from an iPhone, of course). Sunset Strip

Philips new LightStrips are a similarly colorful prospect, designed as they are to shed light across a wall or surface. But being a linear strip, the LightStrips are easier to conceal. The 2-m (6.6-ft) long strips can bend to fit into awkward nooks or even cut down to size for fitting to the underside of shelves and what have you. Like Bloom, a single LightStrip emits 120 lumens, though it's slightly hungrier, consuming 12 W in the process.

Standard hues

It's worth noting that to use either of these products you will need Philips' hue bridge which can control up to 50 bulbs, and which comes with Philips hue starter kits. It's probably worth noting that these aren't the most efficient LED products on the market (in fact they're decidedly inefficient), but they still consume relatively little energy, and when the purpose is ambiance rather than useful lighting, lumens per watt efficacy isn't the most useful metric.

Engadget reports that both products will be available in Apple stores from Thursday, the LivingColors Bloom selling for US$80 and the LightStrip for $90.

Now that Philips has launched the Friends of hue range, it'll be interesting to see if any third-party developers get in on the act.

Sources: Philips, Engadget

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