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Amazon's Plans for Matter in 2023 Should Make Smart Homes a Little Less Confusing

The team behind Alexa is doubling down on Matter, the universal wireless smart home standard, with support promised for additional Echo and Eero devices.

Ry Crist
Ry Crist Senior Editor / Reviews - Appliances
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.
Expertise Smart home technology and wireless connectivity Credentials 10 years product testing experience with the CNET Home team
3 min read

Despite a somewhat limited presence at CES 2023, Amazon revealed plans for its continued support for Matter, the new universal wireless smart home standard that promises to simplify your connected life.

The company behind Alexa already launched Matter support over Wi-Fi on select Echo devices in smart homes that use Android devices. Now, Amazon says that support for Apple iOS is coming this spring, along with support for Matter transmissions over Thread, a low power protocol that's positioned to serve as a dedicated delivery service for device-to-device transmissions between compatible gadgets.

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The rollout will also bring more Echo and Eero devices on board with Matter, including existing devices that are already in homes. Every Echo speaker save for the original, first-gen Amazon Echo is slated to receive Matter support this year, and Amazon points to its fourth-gen Echo in particular as a potential Matter flagship. In addition to existing support for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Zigbee, the spherical smart speaker's support for Matter over both Wi-Fi and Thread will make it one of the most multilingual smart home gadgets on the market.

"This multi-protocol support on Echo devices enables customers to mix and match devices and tap into the latest innovations without having to consider connectivity protocols or invest in additional equipment," Amazon said in its announcement.

An image shows several new categories of home devices that will work with Matter later in 2023, including robot vacuums, smart blinds, smart home cameras, and garage door openers.

Matter's next release later in 2023 will add new categories into the mix, including robot vacuums, smart home cameras, and garage door openers.

Screenshot by Ry Crist/CNET

Additionally, smart home users can expect to see Matter support for new device types in the coming months. Limited to essentials like smart lights and smart plugs at its launch, the standard will soon bring things like thermostats, cameras, robot vacuums and smart blinds into the mix, as well. The Connected Standards Alliance, which oversees Matter's development, announced a biannual release cycle in November, so look for that next release with new device types by June of this year.

In the meantime, there should be plenty of developer activity going on behind the scenes, Amazon says. For instance, the Alexa Ambient Home Dev Kit, first announced last summer to help developers build software around Alexa, will have its first three features in preview later this month. A credentials-sharing feature aims to help Thread-compatible Matter devices communicate with each other, with Alexa, and with the respective developer app, making it easier to onboard new devices and keeping in-home Thread networks from becoming fragmented. Meanwhile, two-way device sync and group sync features aim to allow Alexa devices set up on smart home systems other than Amazon's to share their device status, group names and grouping information with Alexa, allowing the nomenclature to carry over from platform to platform.

In addition, a new tool available in preview called the Matter Analytics Console will allow developers of Matter-compatible gadgets to monitor aggregated performance metrics like latency and success rate, making it easier to optimize the experience and react to issues as they come up.

Amazon clearly hopes that all of that will help spur developers into action during what's shaping up to be another busy year for the smart home. We'll be monitoring those efforts as we get deeper into 2023, and putting Matter to the test as the rollout continues and as newly announced devices make it to market.

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