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Home / Technology / This dull switch can be the best Philips Hue gadget yet

This dull switch can be the best Philips Hue gadget yet

This light switch does not need any wires or batteries, and it can trigger all of your Hue lights and HomeKit scenes.

Row Crist / CNET

Earlier this summer, I called Philips Hue Tap the best smart home gadget you do not use . It's a wireless remote control with four buttons that can trigger Hue lights and scenes – and it uses some nifty technology to power without pushing no batteries are required. Why, I mean, did not Philips take the amazing approach to multiple devices?

Well, that's what I suppose, because that's exactly what Philips tells me to do.

You can turn the new light switches in where they were old or just stick them to the wall wherever you want to use sticky tabs.

Row Crist / CNET

In particular, Philips adds a fleet of light manufacturers to their "Friends of Hue" ̵

1; one in the United States and more in Europe, where switches are more varied in design. The goal: Bring new, self-powered, Hue-compatible light switches to the consumers. The first switch, shown here, comes from Illumra and arrives in the United States by the end of this year. The European models will arrive in early 2019. Pricing is not known right now, but Philips tells me that it will be up to the partners.

You can attach these four button switches to the wall with sticky tabs or you can only remove the old switches and screw the new ones into place – again, no wires needed. From there, synchronize the switch with Philips Hue Bridge and tell you what you want each button to do. They can trigger scenes for a light or set of lights, or they can control separate lights. They will also clear things up and down if you hold down a button, something Hue Tap can not do without the help of Hue Labs.

Another strong selling point: With its Zigbee signals routed through Phillips Hue Bridge, the new switches will work with Apple HomeKit. That means you can use them to trigger HomeKit scenes with a keystroke.

Smart bulbs and smart light switches do not play traditionally well, since dual dimmer mechanisms tend to collide and cause the bulbs to flicker and strobe. There will be no problem with these switches since they are not connected at all. And best of all, when you use the switch to turn off the light on the light, they remain powered. That means you can still turn them back through the app, or through voice commands with Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.

We know much more about these switches later in the year when we have had the opportunity to test them in CNET Smart Home. But for now, I'm willing to call my shot and say that the joyful marriage between smart switches and smart bulb will be an important step forward for smart lighting. Continue with the coming months for more.

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