Philips shipped a controversial firmware update for its Philips Hue bridge yesterday. The company decided to block third-party light bulbs citing interoperability issues. Today, the company announced that this move was a mistake. A future update will reverse the change.
As a reminder, Philips uses a ZigBee wireless bridge to control light bulbs. Third-party light bulbs relying on the same protocol used to work with the Philips Hue starter kit and app ecosystem.
But given that connected bulbs are getting popular, some bulbs don’t work as well as others. Philips mentioned lights not turning off properly for example. That’s why the company has been looking at ways to improve the experience for its users.
Thanks to a new “Friends of Hue” program, connected bulb manufacturers can make sure that their bulbs work with the Philips Hue bridge. If you buy a light with this sticker, you can be sure that it’s going to work with your Philips Hue installation.
But the thing is that this program is just starting, and Philips might have pulled the plug on unofficial bulbs a bit too quickly. Some users were using uncertified lights without any issue.
That’s why Philips will release a new software update that will re-allow third-party bulbs. The company was quick to react following yesterday’s backlash. And this is the right thing to do.