Smart home 'skeleton key' Matter delayed until 2022

The universal connectivity standard was originally expected later this year, but the alliance developing it moved the goalpost.

Dale Smith Former Associate Writer
Dale Smith is a former Associate Writer on the How-To team at CNET.
Dale Smith

The Matter logo represents devices from different manufacturers communicating with one another.

Connectivity Standards Alliance

Smart home unification -- or at least the promise of it -- is going to have to wait. The Connectivity Standards Alliance (née Zigbee Alliance) said in a blog post Friday that the forthcoming Matter standard, formerly known as Project CHIP, won't be ready until at least 2022. It was originally slated to debut this fall.

The delay is in the release of the Matter software development kit, which is the set of tools and programs developers use to create specific applications. In the case of the Matter standard, that would include mobile apps that let you control smart home devices like smart light bulbs, outlets and doorbell cameras.

Watch this: The Matter Protocol could finally fix the smart home

Like a digital skeleton key, Matter could potentially allow devices from competing manufacturers such as Apple, Google and Amazon to more easily communicate with each other. That could save consumers the frustration of figuring out if a particular smart home device is compatible with their voice assistant and ecosystem of choice, whether Siri on Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant on Nest or Alexa on Amazon Echo.

Ultimately, although the prospect of Matter-compatible devices was teased as a possibility for the winter holiday shopping season, the updated timeline isn't a major setback. The SDK is merely the first step before the standard can be integrated in smart home products, and how long that takes is up to each manufacturer.