Amazon just took a big step forward with its support for Matter, finally enabling Alexa to handle Matter devices over Thread as well as Wi-Fi.
In addition to adding Matter over Thread support, the Alexa iOS app now lets you add Matter devices, Amazon announced.
Previously, only the Android version of the Alexa app could pair Matter-enabled smart home devices with Alexa.
Finally, Amazon has turned on Matter support for more of its smart speakers, including the second-generation Echo Plus, Echo Dot, and Echo, meaning now more than 20 of Amazon’s Echo speakers can act as Matter controllers.
All in all, that’s great news for Matter, the budding smart home standard that promises to–eventually–unite the big smart home ecosystems, including Alexa, Apple HomeKit, Google Home, and Samsung SmartThings.
One open question is whether Alexa will support more than just three categories of smart home devices under the Matter standard.
The last we heard, Alexa only handles smart bulbs, plugs, and switches via Matter. The current Matter specification supports the control of more types of devices, including smart blinds, motion and door/window sensors, locks, and smart thermostats.
After a slow start, the Matter standard has been on a roll for the past month or so.
Following Matter delays from Belkin and Philips Hue, both Nanoleaf and Eve have unveiled out-of-the-box Matter devices, and Eve and WiZ have both offered Matter updates for some of their products.
Previously, Alexa’s support for Matter was limited by two key factors.
First, Alexa could only support Matter via Wi-Fi, not Thread, a limitation that effectively ruled out pairing Eve’s Thread-enabled devices.
Second, only Alexa’s Android app was capable of pairing smart devices via Matter, meaning iPhone users were out of luck.
Amazon’s announcements today effectively remove those two barriers, making it much easier for Alexa and Echo users to dive into the Matter standard.