The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) is rolling out the first major update to the Matter standard. Well, it's supposed to be a major update, but it's more like a minor patch.
Matter 1.1, as it’s called, won't add any new new device types to the support list, nor will there be any major changes to the individual platforms like Apple HomeKit. The CSA, instead, is making three relatively small changes affecting both companies and users alike, and those changes mostly affect the former.
Change number one is it is now easier for smart home manufacturers to get started with Matter. The standard’s specifications reportedly have been made clearer allowing for “better guidance” in growing “support for new device types.” The CSA has also made it easier for developers to certify their products so they can get into the hands of customers faster.
Finally, Matter 1.1 will be fixing a bug affecting Intermittently Connected Devices or ICD, which are “typically battery-powered” gadgets like motion sensors and door locks. Moving forward, it will be less likely an ICD “will be reported as offline” whenever a user or platform interacts with it. But, as far we understand the CSA, the bug isn’t completely gone. The error can still happen.
And that’s pretty much it for Matter 1.1. Two developer-centric changes and one for the users that doesn’t solve the problem at all. It just lowers the chance of the error occurring.
Analysis: the hype is gone
This update is disappointing, to say the least. It’s been seven months since Matter officially launched, and it’s pretty safe to say the hype surrounding the standard has effectively died. Roll out, too, has been slow. Google, for example, has only recently added Matter support to its Google Home app on iOS. And it took Amazon nearly four months to finally roll out Matter to its Echo lineup.
Plus, multi-admin control is still a problem, according to The Verge. It isn’t easy to switch your gadget from one platform to another if it’s already connected to one, for instance. And that's something that doesn’t make any sense because the whole point of Matter – its reason for existence – is to have better interoperability between smart home platforms.
It appears the CSA is allowing smart home brands to update their individual platforms at their own discretion. The question is: when are they going to be updating? In all honesty, who knows?
The CSA states it’s going to remain committed to its goal of a “twice-yearly release cycle” for future updates. It’s currently working on “the next version of Matter”, bringing in “new features and device type support.” We contacted the CSA for more information on Matter 1.2, as we’ll call it. This story will be updated at a later time.
If you want to know what works with the standard, check out TechRadar’s list of the smart home devices that play nice with Matter.