Philips has been an electronics pioneer for many decades and while it has recently been facing stiff competition from newcomers from Asia, there are still some signs of innovation in some of its products.
Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting is one of the main candidates as a worthy successor of the incandescent bulb as the main source of artificial light. Its currently more popular competitor, fluorescent lighting, as used in traditional tube bulbs and the more recent Compact Fluorecent Lamps (CFL), while energy efficient, is marred by several drawbacks: bad quality light, difficulty in dimming, awkward designs/large footprint.
LED lighting on the other hand provides excellent colour quality, has a very small footprint and is increasingly becoming more powerful, cheaper and much more efficient than before. It has seen extensive use both for decorative and ambient lighting outdoors. Philips has been one of the leading companies providing lighting solutions based on LEDs, after its acquisition of Lumileds, formerly a joint venture with Agilent Technologies (the erstwhile R&D divison of Hewlett Packard). LED lighting is expensive and requires careful design as the LEDs are typically not as powerful as any of the alternatives. They are also comparatively maintenance-free — LEDs have a very, very long life.
While there have been several industrial/commercial projects that employ LEDs in lighting landmarks, bridges, buildings etc. worldwide, as well as extensive use in breaking lights for vehicles or traffic lights among other industrial uses, there has been relatively little penetration of LEDs in home-lighting.