Matter finally arrives on devices you can actually use
The Eve door and window sensor is one of the first devices to gain Matter compatibility. (Photo: Eve Systems)
Christmas came a little early for the smart home: the first Matter-compatible devices are finally here.
Starting December 12, Eve Systems will begin rolling out a firmware update to its Thread-enabled Eve Energy smart plug, Eve Door & Window contact sensor, and Eve Motion motion sensor to upgrade them to Matter.
Matter is a new smart home standard that will allow devices like smart plugs, light bulbs and door locks to work with any platform you choose.
Until now, Eve’s devices were only compatible with Apple Home. With this update, they’ll work with the Samsung SmartThings ecosystem, as well as Google Home and Amazon Alexa (once those platforms roll out their Matter updates).
While Matter officially arrived in October, there are currently only Matter controllers out there — including Apple Home hubs and Samsung SmartThings hubs. At least now they will finally have some devices to control.
While it may seem like a small change to just a few devices, the update to Eve’s three Thread devices signals the arrival of Matter and the start of a major shift in the smart home, one that will hopefully take it out of walled gardens and down will shift. from proprietary platforms to a more open, interoperable home.
The Matter update to Eve devices is currently optional — as once you’ve updated, you can’t migrate your devices back to only work on Apple HomeKit. You need an iOS or iPadOS device with software version 16.2 to start the update, but once it’s on the Matter network, it can be controlled by an Android phone with SmartThings and soon by Amazon Alexa and Google Home. (Apple is expected to release iOS / iPadOS 16.2 before the end of the year.) Eve is working on an Android app, which he says will arrive in the first half of 2023.
The good news for Apple Home users is that the Eve devices will not lose any of their functionality when upgraded to Matter. Despite not being supported by Matter, features such as autonomous schedules, child lock, energy monitoring and advanced automation will remain available. Compatible features will be available in the Apple Home app, and those not supported by HomeKit (such as energy monitoring) will be through the Eve app.
Jerome Gackel, Eve’s CEO, told The Verge earlier this year that Apple has added the ability to incorporate personal device features into Matter — such as energy monitoring with an Eve smart plug. However, these features are specific to Matter on Apple devices and will not yet be translated to other platforms.
Initially, the Eve devices will only have basic functionality on the other platforms; For example, Matter supports on/off in smart plugs, but not energy monitoring. But it’s possible for those platforms to add custom device functionality on top of Matter as well. Eve says more features will come to the devices when it launches its Eve Android app.