Royal Philips Electronics unveiled on Wednesday an LED bulb that will be mass-produced as a replacement for the common 60-watt light bulb.
The 12-watt Endura LED, which is the fruition of the LED prototype bulb the Dutch electronics giant unveiled in 2009, looks very similar to its historic predecessor in size and shape. But the bulb cuts energy use by 80 percent and lasts 25 times longer than the common 60-watt incandescent bulb, according to Philips.
The LED bulb will last 25,000 hours compared with the 1,000 hours that consumers normally get out of the average 60-watt incandescent bulb.
The company has submitted the bulb for the L Prize, a competition by the U.S. Department of Energy that asked entrants to "develop high-quality, high-efficiency solid-state lighting products to replace the common light bulb."
The bulb is set to go on sale by the fourth quarter. Pricing has not been announced. But given that LEDs are more expensive to make, the price tag will likely be significantly higher than that on a regular bulb.
The Endura LED offers the "same soft white light" common on incandescent bulbs, according to Philips. However, the company did not offer the LED bulb's exact color temperature in terms of Kelvin--which would specify exactly how warm the light will look. The light of the average incandescent bulb, for example, is 2,700K to 3,000K. One type of alternative bulb, the compact fluorescent light (CFL) ranges from 2,700K to 6,500K and higher. The higher the number goes past 5,000K, the more bluish the light appears. While there are currently many warm options among CFLs, they were initially spurned by consumers who found their bluish tone harsh.
The new Philips LED bulb, by the way, is not the invention of one person, but a joint effort among several Philips research centers.
The soft white color was developed at Philip Color Kinetics laboratory in Burlington, Mass.; the electronics at Philips Lighting Electronics in Rosemont, Ill.; the LED integration at Philips LumiLEDs in San Jose, Calif.; and the phosphorous tech and light distribution system from Philips researchers in the Netherlands.
Philips is not the first to announce an LED 60-watt incandescent lookalike for consumer sale. The Pharox 500 from Lemnis Lighting was unveiled Tuesday. It will be available for under $40 on the company's Web site in the coming weeks, according to Lemnis.
Lemnis Lighting President Warner Philips concurred with analysts predictions that the LED lighting market will take off as the price of LEDs comes down. He said in an interview that the price of an LED bulb will drop to $30 by the end of 2010 and to $10 within five years.