C by GE Sol with Amazon's Alexa is smarter than the average light

sol smart lamp by GE
GE Lighting

We've all been there. You want to ask Alexa a question, but your Echo is all the way in the kitchen, and you are sitting in the living room. If only an appliance in there were smart, as well.

Well, GE to the rescue. The company has just announced more information on its smart lamp, including its price and when it will be released. But this device isn't like any smart light you've seen before -- it has a smart speaker baked right in to it. So how does it work?

In IT Blogwatch, we flip a switch. 

So what is going on? Nick Pino has some background:

General Electric is producing...smart lights that are brighter than most, at least in terms of intelligence: The Sol by GE is one half smart lamp, one half personal assistant.
The Sol by GE is part of its...C Series of lights it debuted...in December of last year and inside its base it hides a secret -- Amazon’s Alexa.

If it has Alexa, does it do everything that an Echo can do? Ry Crist is in the know:

With a small speaker and microphone setup in its base, the Sol is basically an Amazon Echo Dot with two rings of light...You can ask the lamp to stream some music, give you a weather update, set a timer, tell you a joke, or access any of the...skills in Alexa's database. You can also ask it to dim the light up and down, or to switch it between yellowy soft white and bluish-white daylight tones. GE also tells us that you can pair visual light cues with everyday tasks -- light that mimics the hands of a clock when you ask the time, for instance.

Sounds intriging. What about the light itself. Anything interesting about it? Brittany A. Roston has some details:

GE says its new Sol lamp is the first ever light with Amazon Alexa baked in. The light can be used as any other lamp, though it produces a more mild and softer light and so is better for desks and bedsides. The lamp is circular...with the outer ring serving as a diffuser for even, soft light. The light itself is a warm color, while the inner portion of the ring can glow blue as a visual indicator.

But is there anything else smart about the lamp, besides Alexa, of course? Peter Brown fills in the blanks:

The...LED lamp features a sleep-enabled light function to help people get better rest at night...A warm light is used to increase melatonin before bed, while cool vibrant light appears in the morning for waking.

What about compatibility with other products. Don't Echoes have that capability? Derek Walter tells us what the Sol can do:

The C by GE Sol is a 60-Watt equivalent light that...uses Bluetooth connectivity to work with GE’s C by GE smart bulbs, Apple’s Home Kit, and other Alexa devices.

So when will this be available? And how much will it cost? Nat Levy has that info:

GE announced...new features for the $200 lamp this week and said it is planning to release the product in September...GE said it is opening up a pre-order program, where fans...can sign up now and get 20 percent off and first crack at the lamp when it goes on sale.

So do we know what the end goal is here? Not really, but Brittany Goetting has a theory:

GE and Amazon are hoping to light up your life.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

Shop Tech Products at Amazon