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Nanoleaf: No matter-updates for current Essentials products

With its Essentials, the manufacturer Nanoleaf demonstrated true pioneering spirit in the fall of 2020. The LED lamp of the same name and the LED light strip were the first light sources with the Thread radio protocol (more on this at digitalzimmer.de). As such, they could be connected directly to Apple’s HomePod mini, and quite a few buyers might have had hopes for a software update for matter. After all, the upcoming smart home standard also relies on Thread.

These hopes are now disappointed. Gimmy Chu, the CEO of Nanoleaf, has explained in an interview with the technology portal The Verge that the Nanloeaf products will not receive such an update (link). They “will require a different chip,” Chu said. “We hope to launch a new Essentials A19 and a new light strip when matter arrives this year.”

There will also be a new version of the Essentials light strip for the launch of matter. Image: Nanoleaf

However, there should be no change to the existing functions. According to Chu, the products will continue to function in HomeKit via Thread and can be connected to other platforms via the cloud. Only an update for matter is out of the question, he said, because of hardware limitations. Eve Systems, another Thread pioneer, has shown more foresight here: During the last generation change of its products, the manufacturer relied on a chip from Nordic Semiconductor that allows this software update, according to its own statement.

Unsure if Elements, Lines and Shapes will get an update

The future of three other Nanoleaf products that also use the Thread protocol seems somewhat uncertain. The Elements, Lines and Shapes series of light panels can work as border routers and connect a Thread network at home to the WiFi or LAN. However, Nanoleaf has not yet decided whether to upgrade them to matter, Chu said. “They work with Alexa, Google and HomeKit, so what would an upgrade do for the customer?”

Border router for Thread, but not necessarily compatible with matter: Elements light panels from Nanoleaf. Image: Manufacturer

Well, there would be a few advantages. For example, matter would facilitate the setup and simultaneous operation of different control systems. In addition, local connections are mandatory, which Amazon and Google currently only provide in special cases. Not to mention the possibility to control the Elements, Lines and Shapes via other matter systems like SmartThings.

It is quite possible that full matter compatibility will only be available with new products, which Nanoleaf is planning to launch at the start of the standard. According to Gimmy Chu, some of them have already been ready since 2021. However, their release is being held back because matter has been delayed again and again.


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