GE Lighting Promises Matter Support at CES 2023, But Not for Everything
New versions of GE Lighting's Direct Connect smart bulbs and plugs will support Matter this year, but support for existing Cync devices isn't in the works.
Ry CristSenior Editor / Reviews - Labs
Originally hailing from Troy, Ohio, Ry Crist is a writer, a text-based adventure connoisseur, a lover of terrible movies and an enthusiastic yet mediocre cook. A CNET editor since 2013, Ry's beats include smart home tech, lighting, appliances, broadband and home networking.
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10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
Building off of the multicolor indoor and outdoor string lights launched last year, the newest additions to the Cync lineup include flat, disc-shaped "Smart Wafer" downlights as well as multicolor "Neon Rope" lights that can be flexed into decorative shapes in addition to being used like traditional string lights. Hexagon-shaped wall panels similar to what Nanoleaf offers are in the works, as well. There are also new, standard shaped smart bulbs and floodlights coming, and those, too, are capable of putting out multiple colors at once, which is a neat trick not often seen in smart lighting.
With animated, color-changing presets and the ability to sync lighting changes with whatever music is playing, the products are branded as Dynamic Effects entries to the GE Lighting lineup, and are expected to hit stores this March at prices ranging from $20 to $200.
"We're looking forward to launching additional Cync Dynamic Effects products that expand our immersive, innovative smart home ecosystem to bring even more personalization and fun for the home," said Kara Perdue, GE Lighting's vice president of product management.
As for compatibility, GE Lighting's Cync lineup boasts support for voice commands via Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant, and the brand also teased an upcoming integration with Schlage that will let users create lighting automations in the Cync app that tie in the lock activity on a Schlage Encode or Encode Plus Wi-Fi deadbolt. We'll hear more about that later this year, GE Lighting tells CNET.
However, the bulbs don't support Apple HomeKit, which keeps Siri out of the mix. GE Lighting will look to address that this year by adding in support for Matter, a new universal smart home standard that bakes in support for Alexa, Google and Apple all at once.
That said, GE Lighting says that Matter support will only come to select new devices in the Cync lineup at first -- specifically, new versions of the Cync Direct Connect smart bulbs and smart plugs.
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"Following through on its participation in the CSA's Matter Working Group, the Cync Full Color Direct Connect Smart Bulb and the Cync Indoor Smart Plug will be the first products to transition to Matter compatible versions, with more products to be upgraded soon afterwards," GE Lighting's announcement reads. "These Matter-compatible products will replace previous versions as they hit store shelves. Previously produced Cync products are not planned to receive retroactive Matter updates at this time."
That means that existing Cync products are probably a no-go for Matter, which might portend some trouble for the standard with existing smart home users hoping that the gadgets they've already bought can come on board with a simple software update. With the Cync lineup at least, that doesn't seem to be an option. Meanwhile, there's no mention of Matter support for the new Dynamic Effects products yet, but as newly made devices, it seems all but certain that they'll join up with the standard by the end of this year.