If you haven't noticed yet, it's increasingly looking like the traditional incandescent light bulb will soon go the way of the passenger pigeon. The latest shot in that battle was fired by electronics powerhouse KoninklijkePhilips
Cars are home to many lights, from headlights and turn signals to brake lights and interior illumination. There's even a light inside most glove boxes. According to Philips, most of these can now be replaced with light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs, bringing higher power efficiency, truer color representation, and a longer useful life, all at once. In most cases, it's as simple as dropping an LED bulb or array of bulbs in where the glowing metal-filament bulb used to live.
The company is touting partners like Toyota
You may have seen automotive LED lights already, though not on a car. At least here in Florida, LED traffic lights are in wide use today. And LEDs' robust, low-power, high-brightness nature has helped the technology creep into many other uses, too. Just around my own house, I have high-efficiency LEDs in my flashlight, on my bicycle, in the Christmas lights, and in several nightlights.
Philips isn't breaking entirely new ground here; it and Cree
LED replacements for the standard light bulb in your home aren't cheap enough to replace the standard model -- yet. But LEDs aren't the only replacement technology waiting in the wings. Organic LEDs (OLED) promise even better efficiency than LEDs, in new formats that cover an entire wall or ceiling. Universal Display
Companies like Eastman Kodak
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Fool contributor Anders Bylund's MP3 player has an OLED display, too. He owns shares in Universal Display, but holds no position in any other company discussed here. Foolish disclosure keeps you from fumbling in the dark. Check out Anders' holdings here for further enlightenment.