Matter, the open-source smart home standard that promises to unite Amazon’s, Apple’s, and Google’s smart home platforms, is one of the most exciting developments that we’re tracking in the smart home space. Now comes word that most Amazon Echo speakers will receive firmware updates enabling them to support Matter.
The announcement, made during Amazon’s Alexa Live developer conference today, means that almost all Alexa-powered Echo devices will be able to control Matter-enabled smart products, a development that will give the upcoming standard a major boost.
All current and many legacy Echo speakers will get the Matter update, Amazon says. Indeed, only three older Echo speakers won’t work with Matter: the first-generation Echo and Echo Dot speakers, as well as the Amazon Tap, a long-discontinued portable Bluetooth speaker with Alexa on board.
The list of Matter-compatible Echo devices does include all Echo Show displays, as well as the Echo Studio, Echo Plus speakers, and the diminutive Echo Flex.
Amazon’s Matter announcement more or less matches Google’s earlier promise that all of its Nest speakers and displays will support Matter. That said, Google went a step further, noting that its Thread-enabled products, including the Nest Wi-Fi, the second-gen Nest Hub, and the Nest Hub Max, would serve as Matter connection hubs. It’s not clear what Amazon intends to do about Thread; as far as we know, no Echo speakers or displays have Thread radios.
The open-source smart home standard formerly known as Project CHIP, Matter is an IP-based protocol that’s compatible with Wi-Fi, ethernet, and Thread. Matter has the backing of some of the biggest names in the smart home space, including Amazon, Google, Signify (owner of the Philips Hue smart lighting brand), and Samsung’s SmartThings.
Matter-certified devices will be able to recognize each other and work seamlessly together across different ecosystems, including Apple’s HomeKit, Amazon’s Alexa, and Google’s Assistant-powered Nest platform.
That means if you buy a Matter-certified smart gadget, you’ll be able to control it with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri, and it will work with any other Matter-enabled devices you own.
The first Matter products are expected to arrive late this year, and Amazon says it’s now ready to start testing Matter-enabled products.