Smart-bulb maker LIFX drops support for Windows 10 but hints at a web app version for the future

Call it stiff competition or just a small market, but Philips Hue Lights competitor LIFX is dropping support for its official app for Windows 10.

One of the few official smart home apps for the OS, which recently made our list of top apps for your home, LIFX is stopping development for Windows 10 for familiar reasons. As it turns out, most users operate their smart home from a smartphone, and it is there Android, and iOS have a leg up even over Windows 10 for PC.

In a reported email sent to users about future support for Windows 10 LIFX's director of marketing allegedly noted:

The windows app has not been updated in a while. There are no plans to update it in the near future. The overall majority of our customers, greater than 99%, have access to or use Android or iOS.We are working on a webapp that could function cross platforms, but it is not slated until early 2018.We're happy to refund your purchase.Best, Jon Director of Marketing

The LIFX app for Windows 10 is available on PC, mobile, HoloLens, and Hub.

The web app alternative is an attractive proposition. Recently, Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and Hosted Web Apps have been getting a lot of attention in tech media due to their low cost to develop. Some of the language used by LIFX suggest that it may suspend development of all its mobile apps for the smart home with PWA as the solution.

Google is one of the biggest proponents of PWAs, but Microsoft through its Edge browser is also a big supporter as the era of apps begins to wind down.

Based on HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript PWAs and its related hybrid apps may be the future of all mobile and PC applications for companies that simply do not want to support – or cannot afford – multiple apps across various platforms.

With Windows 10 PWAs can integrate into the OS through Live Tile support and the Action Center making them feel native-ish. Indeed, the new LinkedIn app and a few other apps on the Store are now PWA style.

Learning more and express support

For those with LIFX, you can jump into the sub-reddit where the discussion is taking place and express support. The web app solution is not slated until "early 2018", but in a follow-up comment LIFX's director of marketing noted, "If the community has a renewed interest and would like to voice your opinion I can work on getting it potentially moved up in the roadmap."

Competition with smart home and smart light technologies is very stiff these days with Philips Hue taking most of the market. Due to cost and initial investment while popular smart lights are still a niche and growing segment of the smart home market. How it all shakes out for standards and costs remains to be seen, but companies involved need to invest wisely as do customers.

Microsoft is slowly creeping into the smart home market with Cortana skills and its eventual Harmon Kardon Invoke speaker, but Redmond lags compared to Google and Apple in this area. How they make up that market remains to be seen. While there are plans and slow development of Windows 10 Home Hub (Invoke is part of that initiative), there is no precise ETA for its big push just yet.

Thankis, Brendon M., for the tip!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.