First-Gen Philips Hue Bridge Exits Support in April

Posted on March 9, 2020 by Paul Thurrott in Smart Home with 22 Comments

Signify, the company formerly known as Philips Hue, will no longer support its 2012-era first-generation Bridge after April 30. I assume that the online troll army that previously obsessed over Sonos will now turn its attention to this unsuspecting company.

“After April 2020, no software updates will be made available for the Hue Bridge v1 and compatibility with our online services will be terminated at that time,” the Philips Hue account tweeted in response to a question about the coming end of support. “The Hue Bridge v1 can still be controlled locally via the dedicated Philips Hue Bridge v1 app.”

The original tweet asked Philips Hue in overly-aggressive fashion whether the firm would recycle their original-generation Bridge, and then drunkenly careened into familiar territory if you followed the recent Sonos drama. “How long will the new bridge last before you deliberately make it obsolete too?” they asked. “Or make my bulbs stop working?”

Philips Hue/Signify confirmed that it does not have a recycling program and suggested that upgrading from an old Bridge to a new version should be seen as similar to upgrading a PC. (Which may have been a misstep since PC makers typically do offer to recycle old equipment.) But whatever. You can see how this is going to go.

If you have this Hue Bridge, you don’t need to upgrade

According to its End of Support policy, Philips Hue/Signify promises to provide “major platform feature software updates” for a minimum of only one year from date of purchase. It also provides “required security, quality and interoperability updates as well as maintaining compatibility with our online services and the latest version of our mobile Hue application” for a minimum total of three years. After that, updates are at its discretion. This puts Sonos’s original and highly-contested support policy in a positive new light, I’d say.

As for the original-generation Bridge, Philips Hue/Signify says that the pending support end was announced a year ago, at which time it ceased releasing those so-called platform feature software updates. It continued to release security, quality and interoperability updates for the following year, but that is coming to an end on April 30, 2020. “Compatibility with our online services will be terminated at that time,” the document states. “The Hue Bridge v1 can be only controlled locally via the dedicated Philips Hue Bridge v1 app … We do not recommend use of Hue Bridge v1 after April 30, 2020 due to potential security concerns.”

As you may recall, Sonos offers customers with legacy devices a 30 percent discount on new equipment. Signify has a promo code of some sort for first-generation Bridge users, but I can’t see it in the Hue app because I don’t own equipment that old. If you do, open the Hue app and navigate to Explore > Upgrade your Hue experience. I believe it requires you to buy a Hue bundle with one Hue White and one Color Ambiance bulb, but with a free Hue Bridge v2, for the normal price of $89.99.

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Comments (24)

24 responses to “First-Gen Philips Hue Bridge Exits Support in April”

  1. Daekar

    So, I get why you're taking the "troll army" on this, and I partially agree...people love losing their minds over things that don't affect them or aren't a big deal. It's like SJW for technology. Still, I wonder if the reason for some of this is that people have intrinsic expectations of durability for what is essentially static infrastructure in their heads. Yes, the nature of things changes when you add a little CPU and connectivity to every device, but especially in a world where we are concerned about environmental impact with everything we do, it does seem a bit myopic to choose products that last 7 years instead of 70.

    The IoT companies either need to change public expectations of infrastructure lifetime, or commit to long support intervals. Very long ones. Given that the constant march of security issues means that pores in security are constantly widened, not contracted, running connected devices that aren't getting security updates is just irresponsible... It's like leaving a loaded gun on a park bench for anyone to play with. It's often not a question of IF there will be a problem, only when.

    • Greg Green

      In reply to Daekar:

      I think this is a battle the troll army already won. Only tech geeks are willing to argue regularly with their utilities, the rest will rather have compliant utilities that are durable.

    • Paul Thurrott

      I'm a user of this stuff, too. I have what I think are reasonable expectations, and I'm certainly capable of outrage when I feel I've been slighted. But we live in an online world of knee-jerk faux outrage over everything. And my point here is only that most of it is from people who do not use these products in the first place. So it's just noise. Are there legit complaints? Of course. But they, too, often get buried in the noise.
  2. cnc123

    Being upset at companies for arbitrarily bricking working hardware is not trolling. It actually seems like a fairly reasonable expectation. The over aggressiveness on this seems misplaced.

  3. IanYates82

    This is similar to the issue with chromebooks where, whilst you can say X years of support since manufacture date Y, the problem is that the consumer may buy at X+3 years and thus have Y-3 years of support.

    That's annoying if Y is only 3 or 4 to begin with and does not line up with warranties on items - a concept consumers are familiar with - which start at item purchase.

    I've got lots of smart bulbs but they're all WiFi ones - good and bad in that approach tbh. Whilst from different manufacturers they all use the same chip and backend as it turns out so the app - and Google integration - from one manufacturer happens to work for all of them anyway. If that manufacturer goes then I've got quite a few others with apps to use at least (assuming it's different cloud infrastructure?).

    Anyway, the sooner this stuff is standardised more the better we'll be. It was only when disney+ came out that I discovered there were different versions of chromecast firmware. Those with it built in to the TV - even some brand new ones - didn't have a late enough version so that feature was suddenly not very useful. And chromecast being a fairly simple concept made me think it'd just always work.

    It's why I'll avoid a smart fridge and avoid a smart TV in favour of external boxes. Speakers ought not to be that different.

    It's why everyone was excited about the surface hubs getting a replaceable "guts", and why people are happy if their old all-in-one also has HDMI in so they can continue to use the perfectly good screen when its compute innards are too old.

  4. hrlngrv

    In reply to RM:

    Light timers go back to the 1970s at least, and anyway ADT or equivalent security services decals on windows and porches and their SUVs patrolling neighborhoods are more effective than any silly automatic lights in houses which have no cars coming or going. Potential burglars, the adult kind rather than kids, will pay attention to actual human traffic in and out of houses, and even kid burglars get most of their tips from world of mouth at school.

    Automatic lights are on the same level as motion sensors which play recordings of dogs barking.

  5. hrlngrv

    The smart home is beginning to look dollar stupid.

    Since it should be possible to reverse engineer any piece of hardware given enough time and resources, how long until 3rd party companies show up which would offer replacement software and control systems for (no apter way to put it) abandonware?

  6. lvthunder

    They should put the date they started making these devices on the box so the consumer can stay away from items that are older then a year since these people don't want to support these things for an appropriate amount of time.

    • wright_is

      In reply to lvthunder:

      Better, the manufacturer should be required to put a support end date on the box. This should go for smartphones and Chromebooks as well, for example.

      I like that Germany is talking about legislation that white goods should have a minimum guarantee of 10 years, including the smart part.

  7. chronocidal

    I would be interested to hear if there is any take on the relationship between the Philips Hue system, and the Amazon Echo, and whether it will change along with this.

    I don't use any of the Hue bridge hardware directly, but I do control a few Hue lights through an Echo. I have to assume the bridge hardware is embedded in the Echo, so that the lights can work locally without an internet connection. I have seen them work during an ISP outage, but groupings get disabled, and I need to address each bulb individually by name.

    Since the bridge is embedded in the Echo, that lets me control the lights remotely via the Alexa app. Is that functionality going to disappear from the app as well, or will it keep functioning, with the Echo acting as a net-enabled bridge to the Hue bridge?

  8. red.radar

    Its Painful when the support cycle doesn’t align with the lifecycle of the hardware. Lighting, HVAC and home Audio equipment are parts of systems that have 10+ years of life cycle.

    these company need to think like industrial and less like smartphone software startups

    that being said... 8 years isn’t too bad. Especially if the old bulbs still pair with the new bridge. I wonder if its impossible to support the old hardware...or just hard to do.

  9. sevenacids

    This makes the downside of current smart home technology obvious: It's not really suitable for building technology. For example: If you build a heating system into a house, it's there to last for 20, 30, or more years, and it's built to last that long. Sadly, this is not true for smart home appliances. Their "half-life period" is far too low. When I build a lighting system into a house, I expect it to work for decades and not just some years.

    Plus for the Hue: While it loses its cloud-dependency, it still works locally and I think that's fine (I would prefer it to be this way by default - my two cents). I don't know why people would want to remote control their lights anyways. It's not a feature that everybody missed and if it wasn't there right now, next to no one would ask for it.

    Minus: The unnecessary electronic waste this produces because it wasn't built to be upgradeable.

  10. Pierre Masse

    Some worldwide organization should define a standardized time of support for IoT devices.

  11. Vladimir Carli

    as an owner of both, sonos and philips hue legacy equipment, I completely disagree that it's the same thing. I own four Play 5 1st gen, which I purchased in 2015 for more than 2000 euro. These devices are 90% speaker and 10% electronic. The speaker portion works perfectly fine, speakers get even better with years of use. I have nothing against replacing, upgrading the electronics. I completely understand why that is necessary. The problem with sonos is that they wanted to force you to throw away the speaker and never warned customers about that. Sonos heavily marketed their ecosystem as something that would develop over years and one could continue to add speakers to it over years. I would have been perfectly fine with buying some external device to allow it to run, to send it in for a (paid) memory upgrade, to pay a subscription to keep it running. Is the deceit that is unacceptable and now from my point of view sonos is not a trustworthy company anymore. I just purchased a soundbar from another manufacturer that could easily have been sonos if they didn't perform this stunt. I wonder who dares to buy a sonos playbar today.

    The hue bridge is only electronics and probably can be replaced with 20 dollars. They usually include it with a purchase of bulbs and I even gave away a couple to friends in the past. The comparison TBH makes no sense

  12. wright_is

    The original bridge has had 8 years of life, which isn't bad for IoT, and if I'm reading this right, it will continue to work, locally, using an App? That sounds good to me. The device is old, it has limited power and IoT attacks are becoming more sophisticated, so it probably doesn't have the power and memory to cope with adequately protecting itself online today.

    If they were just bricking it, that would be something else.

    That the "new" devices will only get a year of updates and security and quality for 3 years seems a little mean. It isn't bad, as far as IoT goes, but we are talking light bulbs here, you sort of expect them to last decades... I know our outside lights are at least 15 years old and most of the internal lights are at least 10 years old, we replaced our bedroom light last year, that was from the 70s, although it the bulbs were low energy ones from the turn of the century...

    • faustxd9

      In reply to wright_is:

      You bring up a good point on the bulbs. However, to be fair the bulbs no longer being supported is not mentioned. I would hope that the new bridge could handle older bulbs. If bulbs are included, then replacing those every 1-4 years gets pretty expensive.

      • wright_is

        In reply to FaustXD9:

        Im guessing the bulbs will still work, that it is just the bridge.

        But the point remains, when you buy stuff like this for the home, it is a one time purchase, or one that will last many years. At least until now. Now the items are getting much more expensive and only last a fraction of the time that the cheap items they replace lasted.

  13. terry jones

    Shamelessly stolen from a picture on another site:

    "Tech Enthusiasts: Everything in my house is wired to the internet of things! I control it all from my smartphone! My smart-house is bluetooth enabled and I can give it voice commands via alexa! I love the future!

    Programmers/Engineers: The most recent piece of technology I own is a printer from 2004 and I keep a loaded gun ready to shoot it if it ever makes an unexpected noise."

    Honestly, why anybody would agree to installing eavesdropping devices in their home, and PAY for the privilege is a complete mystery to me.

  14. proftheory

    Now if only the hardware (bulbs, etc) used open standards that allowed anyone to make a controller then they could be maintained indefinitely.

    They want you to buy the latest so they can stay in business. When was the last time you heard of an auto being advertised as lasting 10+ years? They want you to replace it at the end of the loan/lease. I say that even though I drive a 15 year old Jeep!

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