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Image credit: GE

GE hub connects its smart lights to Alexa and Google

You don't have to pay a fortune to talk to your bulbs.
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GE

When GE introduced its latest C-series smart light bulbs, the focus was on affordability -- as they talked directly to your phone through Bluetooth, you didn't need a bridge device. That kept them out of touch of voice assistants, however, which meant replacing the whole lot if you wanted hands-free control. Well, you won't have to rethink your investment from now on: GE has introduced a hub, the C-Reach, that puts its bulbs on WiFi to enable support for Amazon's Alexa and (by the end of 2017) Google Assistant. As with most smart lighting kits, you can steer lights individually or in groups just by talking to your phone or a smart speaker.

The C-Reach is available on Amazon right now, although whether or not it makes sense depends on what you buy and when. By itself, the hub costs $50 -- your once-thrifty lighting setup could suddenly cost about as much as its peers. Things get better if you're starting fresh. A kit with a hub and two basic C-Life bulbs (which only do white light) will sell for $65, or $50 if you buy on Cyber Monday. A bundle with color temperature-shifting C-Sleep bulbs sells for $85, or $65 on Cyber Monday. If you don't need more advanced bulbs from a system like Philips' Hue, this might represent a bargain.

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