Starting with last week’s Hue Bridge firmware update, Philips is now blocking third-party bulbs that have not been tested with the Hue system. In a post on its developer blog, Hue provided an update on “Friends of Hue” — the company’s program for certifying third-party apps and hardware to work with the Hue Bridge — noting that due to “an increasing number of interoperability issues” the latest firmware updates will begin blocking any devices that have not been tested and certified by Philips from joining the Hue Bridge. Since Philips uses the ZigBee Light Link (LL) standard, many users have found over the years that bulbs from GE, Cree, and Sylvania that support ZigBee LL can also be paired with a Hue Bridge and integrated into the Hue ecosystem, although compatibility issues are commonly reported online, such as lights that do not turn fully off, or lights that don’t respond properly to Hue scenes.
Philips notes in its post that these third-party bulbs only make up a “minimal fraction” of the number of products being used within the Hue ecosystem, and the percentage of users affected should be minimal. Further, the update only applies to new untested products being linked; bulbs that have already been linked to a Hue Bridge will continue to work as they did before, as long as they are not deleted or the Hue Bridge isn’t reset, although Philips makes no guarantees that future firmware updates won’t expose compatibility issues.