Philips have updated their Hue app, and this is a major version update. Released as 'version 3' of the app for iOS and Android, the app brings a new design, and several new features. Here, I explore what's new, and give you a tour of the updates included.
One of the benefits of a smart home, is that the technology can be updated over time with new software updates to deliver new and improved functionality. This can come in a variety of ways, but in many cases it can come through the delivery of updated smart phone software to control your smart home kit.
Philips recently released version 3 of their Hue app, and I've been looking around at what's new.
The first and most obvious change is the design of the app. Everything has been given a new look, and there are lots more rounded corners vs the old app. At the same time the overall layout of the app is largely unchanged, so those used to the old app won't be confused here.
One of the biggest changes is how you can control light colour & brightness. The new colour & light palette let's you group lights in a room together and adjust them as one. So, if you have lots of lights in a room and want to set just some of them to the same colour / brightness, it's now a lot easier to do so. Previously you'd have to change the whole room, then go back and adjust those lights you didn't want affected.
Grouping is easy to do. From the palette, you'll see a series of icons representing the lights on the room. Tapping a light will show you its name at the top of the screen. You can tap & drag lights onto each other to create a group. The group is an icon with a number in it (referencing the number of lights in that group). You can the drag the whole group around to set colour or light warmth, and change brightness at the top.
Breaking a group is done just as easily. Tap the group and it will expand into a circle, showing each of the individual lights in that group. Simply drag the lights you want to remove out of the circle.
Philips have also added around 30 new scenes. At first I didn't see these, as they don't directly show up in the scenes section for a room. Instead, goto 'New Scene' at the top, and you'll then be given a set of choices for how to create the new scene. One such option is an icon of a camera. Choosing this will show you all the new scenes Philips have added, as well as giving you the choice to create new ones from your own photos.
A new Philips Hue Entertainment feature has been added. As I covered in my article 'Philips Hue Entertainment Integration News', the Hue Entertainment feature is Philips' attempt to drive greater integration between their Hue lighting system, and entertainment partners. At launch that was just Razer (who make pro gaming hardware), however Philips have now launched 'Hue Sync'. Hue Sync is software you can install on your PC, to synchronise the colours on your screen, with your lights.
Of course, Philips releasing their own software as part of their own initiatives to drive greater entertainment integration is good, but what will be really great to see is if we can get actual direct integration with smart TVs. Time will tell, and not enough of it has passed so far. I'll be looking at Hue Sync in a future article.
Looking around the app I couldn't find many other noteworthy changes. Routines, Settings and Labs all appear to work in much the same manner they did before. With the previous app (v2), Philips added various features over time, and it's entirely likely that they'll do the same with version 3.
It's a great update, and I can't wait to see what's next!