What It Truly Feels To Handle The First Matter Gadgets In The Real World? I received three Matter devices from Eve to test with and I had the support of Apple, Samsung, and Google for Matter. The good news is that I was able to make all three platforms and gadgets operate together.
The bad news is that getting there wasn’t easy and required switching back and forth between an iPhone 14 and a Google Pixel. Right now, it’s impossible to live without either.
But I was able to connect the three Eve devices—a smart plug for energy, a motion sensor, and a door and window sensor—to each of the three smart home platforms.
I was able to operate every device using a different app on iOS or Android, but obviously not Android for Apple Home because it doesn’t exist. I could manage the gadgets using Google, Siri, and Bixby, respectively.
On each platform, utilizing both Matter and non-Matter devices, I built up the bare minimum of routines and automation. Once everything was set up, it operated smoothly.
I’ll eventually be able to test with Amazon Alexa as well; the company recently announced the launch of Matter over Wi-Fi. Although all of Eve’s Matter devices are Thread-only, Alexa does not yet support Matter via Thread.
At first glance, a smart plug and sensors that operate with different ecosystems are not particularly interesting, but the back-end connectivity in this case is fascinating.
No cloud integration is taking place, no account sharing is required, and no credentials are being submitted. Direct communication between the sensors and smart plug as well as with the Matter controllers is taking place.
The Eve devices support Threading as well. A mesh networking technology called Thread is intended to be quicker and more dependable than existing protocols. It requires a Thread border router and functions in conjunction with Wi-Fi, which is the primary protocol used by Matter.
Three Thread border routers that are also Matter controllers were put to the test by me: a HomePod Mini, a Google Nest Hub Max, and an Aeotec SmartThings hub. However, I only need one controller to communicate with the other platforms and the gadgets, therefore I don’t need all three.
What Is Matter?
With the help of the new Matter smart home interoperability standard, smart home appliances can communicate with one another locally within your house without the need for a cloud connection.
In its initial implementation, it includes smart sensors, smart lighting, smart plugs and switches, connected locks, smart thermostats, and media devices, including TVs. It employs the Wi-Fi and Thread wireless protocols.
All of this implies that if you purchase a smart home device that bears the Matter logo, you should be able to set it up and use it with any Matter-compatible product on any Matter-compatible platform. Toward the end of this year, matter-compatible gadgets should start to be made available.
Some of the major smart home platforms that have partnered with Matter include Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple Home. The compatible hubs from Apple, Samsung, Amazon, and Google have been updated to become Matter controllers, and we anticipate that updates will soon be available for other platforms.
However, the journey to this state of perfect interoperability was very difficult. To be honest, I was testing on some unfinished platforms that aren’t quite compatible with Matter, some beta software, some preview apps, and a recently upgraded Apple Home architecture.
I had to use two phones to complete everything, an iPhone 14 and a Pixel 6, as neither Google Home nor Samsung SmartThings has Matter-enabled iOS apps yet. This complicated the procedure, but it shouldn’t be a problem once the Matter iOS apps for those devices are available.
I could then upgrade my existing Eve devices to Matter utilizing an Apple HomePod Mini and an iPhone on 16.2 after updating all my hardware and software to the most recent OS systems and software versions and enrolling in an Eve Early Access program. This won’t be necessary if you purchase a gadget that is Matter compatible, but they aren’t yet shipping that way.
The procedure was simple and successful on the first try. Each gadget’s firmware upgrade required using the Eve iOS app (there isn’t an Android version), and it took between 20 and 30 minutes per device. This will take the entirety of the weekend to complete if you have several devices to upgrade.
After being upgraded, the Eve devices turned into Matter devices, a non-reversible transformation that makes it unable to integrate these formerly HomeKit-only plugs and sensors with Apple Home again. Now useless are the little HomeKit codes that were attached to their sides. However, they can work with any Matter platform now that Matter is on board. Thus, for the first time, Eve’s gadgets are now compatible with Google and SmartThings.
By scanning the Matter code issued during the upgrade procedure, I was able to successfully couple the Eve Motion and Eve Door & Window sensors back to Apple Home after the upgrade. As you must scan the code with your phone, you are advised to print it out or store it so you can access it from another device.
So that I could access it and scan it on my iPad, I saved it to Files on my iPhone. You should store this somewhere safe because you’ll need it if you ever reset the device (just as with HomeKit codes). This is a cumbersome procedure, but once more, it won’t be a problem if you purchase something that is already Matter-enabled.
The good news for any Apple Home users considering an upgrade is that your settings for that device are backed up and restored as part of Eve’s migration process to Matter.
As a result, upgrading each item takes around 20 minutes, but the result is worthwhile because when I re-added the Eve devices to HomeKit, all of my automation was still in place. When I toggled them back on, everything functioned as it had previously even though they were toggled off.
Additionally, you won’t lose any functionality because Apple has made it possible for third-party apps like the Eve app to access additional custom functionalities on top of the standard Matter functions. As a result, the Eve Energy smart plug still has energy monitoring capabilities, but only when used with the Eve app.
I was now able to pair my two brand-new Matter devices with the Google Home and Apple Home apps. using Eve devices on an Android platform for the first time. The two phones were useful in this situation. Only the Android platform currently has a Google Home app that supports Matter. I was so forced to utilize a Pixel 6.
The pairing procedure took a lot of time and effort. In the Apple Home app, navigate to the device’s settings, scroll down, and select Turn on Pairing Mode.
A dialogue box titled Accessory Ready to Connect will then display a code in it. You can tap to copy the code so that, in theory, you can paste it into another smart home app after opening it. I had to write down the code and then type it into the Google Home app because there isn’t currently a Matter Google Home app for iOS.
When I launched the Google Home app on my Pixel 6 and attempted to add a device, as usual, a new option for a Matter Device showed up after I chose to add New Device. I entered the 11-digit setup code after selecting Enter Setup code rather than Scan QR code, which took around 45 seconds.