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A Google speaker controlling Apple Homekit accessories? We just saw it in action
After many years of delays, the Matter unifying smart home protocol is finally set for release in the fall of 2022. And things are looking good for it: Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, and many other brands are on board, some have announced concrete plans to update existing devices to support it, and many smart home manufacturers seem to be ready to deploy their fleets of Matter-compatible devices when the protocol is live.
That’s where Eve, the famous Apple Homekit-only smart home device maker sits. The company was at IFA highlighting its readiness to adopt Matter as soon as it rolls out. And that means that yes, Eve’s extensive arsenal of connected products will be compatible with Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings, among others.
Eve's previously HomeKit-only plug could be controlled by Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa, and Samsung SmartThings.
The demo was relatively simple: Eve built four stations with the same Energy smart plug hooked up to a lightbulb. One station had a HomePod Mini, another a Nest Hub, followed by an Echo speaker, and a phone running Samsung SmartThings. All four devices were able to control the plug and turn the light on and off.
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Now you could say that this isn’t impressive because there are hundreds of smart home accessories that can already work with Google, Amazon, Apple, and Samsung. The difference here is that Eve’s developers didn’t have to manually add all these integrations to make sure their products work across platforms. They just added support for Matter and now their previously HomeKit-only Energy plug is compatible with way more than just Apple HomeKit.
Theoretically speaking, the plug can be added to and controlled by any other Matter-compatible hub, so there’s a good chance it’ll also be compatible with Ikea Tradfri, Lutron Caseta, Philips Hue, and way more too once these hubs get Matter support.
Eve's developers didn't have to manually implement this. They just added Matter support.
Eve was already well poised to support Matter because its products are built on Thread — one of the main pillars of Matter. That’s why it’s one of the first companies ready to roll it out of the gate: 14 of its different products will receive an over-the-air update to support Matter once the protocol is official. Expect plugs, switches, sensors, thermostat heads, and more to get upgraded. The only outliers are the company’s cameras, but that’s because the Matter protocol doesn’t support security cams yet.
In addition to all of this, Eve says it will release an Android app before the end of the year to help it attract more of the Google/Android crowd.
Are you waiting for Matter before buying more (or any) smart home accessories?
Unfortunately, the demo we saw at IFA didn’t showcase the Android app or all the other benefits of Matter’s implementation. We didn’t see how the protocol is supposed to simplify adding a new smart home gadget to your existing setup. Neither was there a demo of the Thread network’s mesh architecture, its ability to reach further objects by bouncing through nearer ones, and its resilience and adaptability if a node is removed from the system. So there’s still a lot to discover about Matter. We’ll be keeping an eye out for it whenever it launches.
Up next: Things I wish I’d known before building an advanced smart home