Delays have been a significant part of the Matter narrative. So it shouldn’t surprise that Phillips Hue, one of the most prominent names associated with the new smart home standard, is delaying its rollout. According to news, Phillips Hue won’t update its bridge in support of Matter before the end Q1 2023 (i.e. Now, despite promising to do so last Nov.
“As Philips Hue is a focused on quality, it will take extra time before making software updates to the Philips Hue Bridge accessible to all consumers to really get it right and deliver to consumers’ expectations,” Kelly Gramuglia of Signify (which owns Philips Hue)
When it arrives, the update will connect all Hue’s lights back to their original bulbs from 2012. It will also integrate into any compatible Matter ecosystem. The Hue Sync Box, Tap Dial Switch are the only Hue devices that don’t support Matter. Gramuglia suggested that delays were due to slow rollouts by other companies. She stated that Matter’s launch is dependent on other companies in the smart home market.
Amazon’s Alexa and Samsung SmartThings Matter controllers don’t support bridging at this time — meaning that Hue’s bulbs won’t work on Matter platforms until they do. Users may also find it frustrating that Amazon and Google’s smart-home apps don’t work with Matter iOS.
What is Matter?
Matter, a new standard for smart home interoperability allows connected devices to communicate in your home directly without having to use a cloud connection. Matter was developed by Apple, Amazon and Google and supports Wi-Fi and thread wireless protocols. In its initial rollout, Matter supports smart sensors and smart lighting as well as connected locks and media devices, including TVs.
This means that any smart home device you purchase with the Matter logo can be set up and used with any Matter compatible device and platform. Matter devices are now available and we anticipate more to come this year.
Amazon Alexa and Google Home, Samsung SmartThings and Apple Home all support Matter. All compatible hubs have been updated to become Matter controllers.
The Hue Matter update is not moving forward. You can sign up for a developer profile to access the beta software and try your Hue lighting products with Matter.
I don’t recommend rushing to change your Hue setup if you are happy with it. Matter is not about adding new features to existing devices, as I have reported. I also reported that the ecosystems do not follow the new standard. At the moment, it is difficult to set up and use Matter devices in multiple ecosystems.
Philips Hue works with all major platforms, so the big advantage of Matter is now somewhat moot. Matter-enabled Hue devices will work locally in your home regardless of which smart home system they are controlled through. This will improve reliability and speed in certain situations. Signify also informed Hue Blog that Matter will make it easier for you to connect multiple bridges to Amazon Alexa and Google Home. Handy, if your Hue limit of 50 lights per bridge is exceeded.
Matter is not fazed by the delay. Signify isn’t about to abandon the standard like Belkin did last. It is one of Matter’s most passionate supporters. It is yet another example of how Matter as a concept might be ready but the companies that work together to support it still have much to do.
Although Hue’s Matter pause may seem like a brief delay, Belkin said that it is taking “a big step back” from Matter standards and will only move forward when the Wemo brand “finds a way to distinguish” its smart products in the next wave of Matter devices.
Matter is also being used by other smart home manufacturers. Nanoleaf made its first Matter-enabled smart light available last week for pre-order.