Ahead of its annual developer conference, Samsung has revealed details about how Matter smart home devices will work on its Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets. The company announced you’ll soon be able to use Galaxy devices to onboard Matter-compatible devices to both SmartThings and Google Home ecosystems.
The interoperability with Google Home is building on top of Matter’s multi-admin feature. Multi-admin is a key part of the Matter specification that all devices and platforms are required to support. It allows a device in one ecosystem to be shared with and controlled by another. So, for example, an Amazon smart thermostat could be controlled by the Apple Home app or Apple’s Siri voice assistant if everything is Matter-enabled.
Enhanced Samsung and Google integration will roll out next year.
The partnership between Samsung and Google builds on multi-admin by “simplifying device sharing across apps and ecosystems on Android,” Jaeyeon Jung, corporate vice president and head of SmartThings’ mobile experience business at Samsung Electronics, told The Verge.
When you open the SmartThings app, any Matter-enabled devices already set up with Google Home will be made available to add to SmartThings and vice versa. This will let you add to and control your devices with either the SmartThings app or Google Home interfaces, which could include a Google Nest Hub and the Google Assistant, as well as the Google Home app.
What is Matter?
Matter is a new smart home interoperability standard that provides a common language for smart home devices to communicate locally in your home, without relying on a cloud connection. It uses Wi-Fi and Thread wireless protocols and, at launch, will include smart sensors, smart lighting, smart plugs and switches, smart thermostats, connected locks, and media devices including TVs.
All this means that if a smart home device you buy has the Matter logo on it, you should be able to set it up and use it with any Matter-compatible device and in any Matter-compatible platform. Matter-compatible devices should start to become available toward the end of this year.
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple Home are some of the big smart home platforms signed on to support Matter, and we expect to see updates arriving on these platforms over the coming months.
“From a user perspective, we are making device sharing easier for Samsung Galaxy users by requiring less knowledge to share between the ecosystems,” says Jung. “Our collaboration essentially does some of the work for the user in the user interface, making their steps easier.”
Samsung says Matter’s standard multi-admin feature will be rolling out on its platform in the coming weeks, and early next year, it will add the enhanced Google Samsung integration.
Matter’s multi-admin feature will allow this universal control from any compatible platform, but what is different here is the easy onboarding of any Matter devices already in the Google Home or SmartThings ecosystem. With other platforms, you’ll have to manually add devices to each ecosystem — which could be a chore if you have a large setup.
We asked Samsung about similar collaborations with Amazon and Apple. “We’re open and excited to collaborate with popular ecosystems to deliver the best possible experiences for our customers globally,” says Jung. “Collaborating with Google is the first natural step for us.”
Matter is not a smart home platform itself; it’s a baseline set of standards, and it’s designed for companies to build on top of. “That is the point of the standard, to standardize some things and to allow for innovation on top,” Chris LaPré, head of technology at the Connectivity Standards Alliance that oversees Matter, explained to The Verge. “This is what it appears Samsung and Google are doing. It’s a positive development for consumers.”
While you’ve been able to connect devices in your SmartThings app to Google Home previously, these connections were largely done through cloud-based APIs, requiring you to log in to accounts and share data and credentials across platforms. None of that will be necessary with Matter, as the devices can communicate with each other locally and be managed by a user via a Matter controller.
Samsung has said its Galaxy devices, televisions, and select smart appliances — such as the Family Hub fridge — will be Matter controllers as part of its Hub Everywhere program. This will build software-based SmartThings hubs into Samsung devices and appliances. Google has committed to upgrading its smart speakers and displays as Matter controllers. Android phones will also be Matter controllers, although ideally, you’ll need at least one Matter controller that stays in your home.