Matter — the upcoming smart home standard that looks to help unify Google, Apple, and Amazon’s separate smart home systems into a single cross-functional standard — has been delayed again to sometime in 2022, Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA) CEO Tobin Richardson announced in a blog post.
While Matter itself has a “feature-complete specification,” the group still has to finish developing the SDK and the certification program by which developers will be able to get both existing and new hardware officially labeled as Matter-approved. While the original goal was to have much of that work done this year, with the first Matter-certified hardware rolling out by the end of 2021, the new timetable pushes that out to sometime vaguely in the first half of 2022.
We still might see some Matter updates earlier in 2022 for existing products like Philips Hue (which has already pledged comprehensive support for the standard on its smart lights). According to smart home expert Stacey Higginbotham, however, the delay means that the first new Matter-enabled devices likely won’t be out until the back half of 2022 at the earliest.
As Higginbotham reports, Richardson explained the delay as being caused by several factors, including adding more companies to Matter, the new delta variant-fueled wave of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and the simple fact that it's hard to develop a complicated, multi-device connectivity standard like this.
It’s not the first delay for Matter, either, which was first announced in 2019 with the goal of a late 2020 release. That was shifted to a goal of a full launch sometime in 2021, and then delayed again to the end of 2021.
Given the number of players and complexity of building a system that unifies smart home products from not just Apple, Google, and Amazon but from over 200 different companies, it’s easy to understand why the Matter team is taking things slowly. But it also means that anyone hoping that the standard would help to simplify their smart home setup will have to wait a few more months (at a minimum) before things start to roll out.