Its new hybrid halogen-CFL bulb looks like a fluorescent bulb shoved inside a traditional incandescent bulb, bringing the Thanksgiving tradition of the turducken straight to a socket near you.
The idea is to combine the instant-on quality of a halogen bulb with the energy efficiency of a compact fluorescent. The halogen capsule is used to turn the bulb on within a half-second, then turn off when the bulb reaches full brightness.
Unfortunately, the bulbs still contain mercury -- about 1 mg per bulb. (Existing CFLs range from 1.5 mg to 3.5 mg.)
The new bulb is coming to the U.S. and Canada in 2011, first with 15-watt and 20-watt bulbs that are direct replacements for 60-watt and 75-watt incandescent bulbs.
Nevertheless, the hybrid bulb is a stepping stone toward more efficient general lighting. That's because new regulations in the U.S. are forcing the lighting industry to phase out traditional bulbs in 2012 -- first 100-watt incandescents, then 75-watt incandescents in 2013, then 60- and 40-watt incandescents in 2014.
GE did not release retail pricing and availability.