The months of January to March 2023 were particularly important in the Matter calendar. For the first quarter of the year, quite a few manufacturers had announced their software update or the sales launch of new Matter-certified products.
Time has passed and not much happened. Some companies corrected their statements backwards in the course of the year, others no longer mention a release date when asked. Here is an overview of the current announcements, as of the end of March 2023. New dates will be added, or existing ones updated as needed.
Who is shifting? And how much?
- Amazon: The first update in December 2022 should be followed by a second one that brings Matter via Thread to Echo models and the Eero Wi-Fi mesh system. “Early next year,” it was said during the launch event in November. Then, at the electronics trade show CES in January, Amazon was quoted with a new date “in spring.” The company added nothing to that when asked. Astronomically, spring only ends on June 21. Update from May 2, 2023: Amazon has unlocked Matter via Thread on the Echo 4, added new Echo models, and now also supports the standard in its Alexa app for iOS.
- Aqara: Two wireless sensors with Thread radio – the P2 door/window contact and the P2 motion detector – were planned for early 2023. When asked, the manufacturer names the third quarter of 2023 as the new date. Before that, it’s the turn of the update for the smart home hub M1S – probably during the second quarter. The Matter software for the M2 model has already been delivered – two months later than planned.
- Belkin: Three announced Matter products from the Wemo range will not be launched for now. The company has halted development of the smart plug, dimmer and light switch to realign its strategy. Nothing is yet known about further plans.
- Eve Systems: With the sales launch of its certified Eve Energy on March 28, 2023, the company remains on schedule as announced. The Thread smart plug is already available. The two other products announced for that day are delayed by only a fortnight: Eve Door & Window and Eve Room are scheduled to hit the market on April 17. The beta test for early adopters will end then as well. All existing users of the three Thread products mentioned above will be able to install the software update for Matter from that date. Update from April 20, 2023: It took two days longer, but the announced software updates for existing products are now available.
- Flic: With their announcement in August 2022, Shortcut Labs from Sweden were among the first to promise an integration for Q1 2023. According to the FAQ on their website, the date is still valid for Flic-branded smart buttons. The company did not respond to follow-up questions. Update from April 12, 2023: The release date on the website has been silently changed. It now says 2023 – without specifying a quarter or month (link).
- Philips Hue: A beta firmware for the Hue bridge has been available to all Matter fans who like to experiment for quite some time. However, the official launch date in the first quarter lapses. Via email, manufacturer Signify announced: “We always focus on convincing quality with Philips Hue in order to meet our customers’ expectations. Therefore, we will take a little more time than originally planned for the Philips Hue Bridge software update before making it available to all consumers.” More information is to follow at a later date.
- Nanoleaf: Pre-sales of two Matter products have begun. The Thread lamp and Thread light strip from the Essentials series have recently became available for pre-order in the company’s store. Their mid-April delivery will just miss the announced first-quarter launch date. Other Matter-enabled lighting products, such as the Essentials spot with GU10 base and the recessed lamp, will not be released until late 2023.
- Wiz: According to the manufacturer, all Wiz products launched from September 2021 are at least technically eligible for a firmware update. On various occasions, it was said that the delivery of the Matter software should take place shortly after the official launch of the standard. However, it is still pending five months later. An inquiry to the company is underway. Update from April 22, 2023: Wiz has apparently started rolling out the update for first models. Compatible lamps can now be added to Matter systems in the Wiz App v2 (under “Integrations” in the Settings menu).
What takes so long?
Given these delays, it is easy to get the impression that Matter is not making any headway. At the launch in November, the roadmaps sounded more optimistic. However, the standard-setting CSA points out, “A formal release of the standard after approval by the members of the Working Group is part of the standard’s development process.”
Michelle Mindala-Freeman, Head of Marketing for the Connectivity Standards Alliance explains: “Matter’s formal launch and release allowed companies to begin in earnest to incorporate Matter into their product cycles and planning, which of course is determined by each company’s strategy.” Meaning, it will take time for everyone to implement the technology. A few months is probably not a long time in such a mammoth project. “Matter is a long-term play for the industry and will be integrated into member companies’ natural product cycles, from chips to platforms to end devices”, she adds.
That industry’s interest seems to be unwavering: “Since November more than 750 products and apps, have been certified, there are now over 300 member companies engaged at the Participant level in the working group, and nine teams working on new device types,” Mindala-Freeman says. Even considering that quite a few of the 750 products are model variations, the number seems impressive. Now companies just need to get their lineup on the road – and do some expectation management. Perhaps it’s better to be cautious with forecasts or not to mention a date at all than to keep breaking the hurdles they’ve set themselves.
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