Want to control your house lights completely – dimming, brightening – through an app? Well, Durham-based Cree will soon have a bulb just for that,

Cree (Nasdaq: CREE) is entering the exploding smart phone market against competitor Philips, unveiling on Thursday a so-called smart bulb that can be controlled through various apps. The 60-watt LED bulb sells for just under $15. Standard LED bulbs sell for around $10. 

Cree is looking to cash in on people creating smart homes through various technologies. Juniper Research has estimated that the smart home market will soar to $71 billion by 2018 compared to $33 billion two years ago.

The new bulbs go on sale before the end of the month at Home Depot and online at Cree’s website.

But the bulb is not “smart” by itself.

Notes Cree: “Today’s Connected Cree LED Bulb is compatible with Wink and ZigBee certified hubs, allowing consumers to control the Connected Cree LED Bulb from anywhere by simply installing the bulb and compatible hub, syncing the devices and customizing the settings using your iOS® or Android® smartphone. Easily dim or brighten the lights to the perfect setting, schedule lights to come on at the start of each day or turn lights on while away for added security.”

Sunch hubs are a key part of smart home technology for everything from light (turning off and on, dimming them) to security and door locks.

Cree unveiled new LED technology in October that it says enables manufacture of cheaper LED bulbs. The company also earlier this week launched patent and trade complaints, seeking to protect its intellectual property.

Web outlets around the country that follow smart home technology and green tech popped with the news. A sample of headlines and summaries:

  • Mashable: Cree enters connected bulb fray

The dream of a completely smart home is coming true, though not exactly how many people first envisioned it. Instead of a whole smart home, we’re getting connected devices piecemeal that make the home living experience (whether you’re there or not) …

  • Gizmodo: Cree’s Cheap New Smart Bulb Is a Long-Lasting LED Dream

Cree’s always impressed us with good-looking LED lightbulbs at wonderfully affordable prices. Now, the North Carolina company is raising the stakes with a new connected bulb that’s not only dimmable and programmable; it also lasts for 25,000 hours, just …

  • PCWorld: Cree jumps into the connected LED bulb market

Energy-efficient LED light bulbs are rapidly replacing their energy-inefficient incandescent cousins, helped in no small part by government regulations. The growing market is attracting new players and driving down prices. Today, LED pioneer Cree, Inc.

  • SlashGear: Connected Cree LED Bulb goes conveniently cross-platform

Connected lighting was a big theme at CES 2015, but remotely-controlled bulbs are seldom cheap. That’s something Cree is aiming to change with its new Connected Cree LED Bulb, a 60W equivalent priced under $15 apiece and offering wireless …

  • Gigaom: Cree’s $15 connected LEDs work with (almost) everything

For those bargain shoppers out there hunting for a connected bulb, Cree, the company that brought the first blue LED light to market, has a deal for you. It’s shipping a $15 connected warm, white LED that rivals the GE Link bulb in both price and functionality.

The full Cree announcement can be read at: http://www.cree.com/News-and-Events/Cree-News/Press-Releases/2015/January/connected-bulb