Amazon says it has started supporting the Matter smart home interoperability protocol over Wi-Fi on many of its Echo devices effective Monday. The online retailer had said last month that it planned to launch Matter support using Wi-Fi on lights, switches and smart plugs, but that that it would wait to support more devices and Matter using the Thread radio protocol. It joins Google, which last week launched support for Matter devices on its hubs, Nest Audio devices and its Wi-Fi routers. Unlike Amazon, Google is supporting Matter on Wi-Fi and Thread at first, and supporting a wider variety of devices.
Amazon’s Matter support will launch for Android devices and on the following 17 Echo devices: Echo Dot (5th Gen), Echo Dot (5th Gen) with clock, Echo (4th Gen), Echo Dot (3rd Gen, 2018 release), Echo Studio, Echo Show 8 (2nd Gen, 2021 release), Echo Show 10 (3rd Gen), Echo Show 5 (2nd Gen, 2021 release), Echo Show 15, Echo Dot (Gen 3 with Clock), Echo Dot (Gen 4 with Clock), Echo Show 5, Echo (v3), Echo Dot Gen 4, Echo Input, Echo Flex and Echo Show 8.
Next year, Amazon will add Matter support for more devices and eventually support Thread. In an interview in late October with Chris DeCenzo, Principal Engineer at Amazon, he explained that the company wanted to make sure its customers had a smooth experience and rolling out support for Thread and additional devices would happen as Amazon felt more comfortable with the end user experience. Amazon may be right to do so.
We actually tested Google’s Matter implementation with an update to Eve’s smart plug and and its Eve Motion sensor, and experienced a bit of trouble before eventually getting it all working. Additionally, despite the Matter spec getting finalized in October, there are few devices that actually support Matter in the wild today. There are almost 200 Matter-ready devices that have the technical capabilities to support Matter, but are awaiting updates expected to happen in the coming months. Right now my home has three Matter controllers (from Amazon, Google and SmartThings), but not a single end node.
I have ordered an Eve Smart Energy Plug (which Kevin tested last week using Google) to try to play with Matter in my own home, but getting most devices in my home updated sounds like it will be a one-by-one sort of roll out that will happen over months. And based on the different strategies from Google, Amazon and Samsung SmartThings, it’s clear that even my controllers will have different capabilities for the near term. As for Apple and HomeKit devices, Apple has said all Matter accessories will work with the HomeKit API, but so far, Matter devices aren’t working on Apple’s two Matter hubs based on Kevin’s testing.
For those of us who have been eagerly awaiting Matter since its initial announcement back in December 2019, the wait over these next few months will likely feel excruciating, but it’s probably the right thing to do.