The smart home was once a far-flung pipe dream, but it is now a reality. Wherever you live, your home is ground zero for some of the most interesting tech available right now, and tech that’s yet to come. Best of all, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to get your home up and running with smart hardware and services. Home security and monitoring solutions can alert you to a burglary, smoke, fire, or just simple motion activity. There are plenty of options with a range of capabilities, from smart doorbells and smart locks to indoor and outdoor cameras that can see in the dark. Smart speakers, like the Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod each play a big role in helping you out, too. In the kitchen, they can read out recipes, or if you’re cleaning, you can call out to them to change the song on the fly. If you buy smart light bulbs, for instance, you can turn them on and off by using your voice.
Why is Matter such a big deal, and when can you actually use it?
I just tried it on the smallest Echo, the Show 5, and it started playing ABC News before I hopped over to America's Test Kitchen. Now, time for dinner.
Amazon just announced a new Echo Hub at Amazon’s Fall hardware event. The tablet-like screen mounts to the wall and costs $179.99.
It’s a Zigbee hub, Thread border router, and Matter controller in one, with a smart home widget interface that automatically appears as you approach.
Amazon says it can control devices in milliseconds, but the big question is how snappy will its touchscreen be?
This map view makes a lot of sense for control of your smart home, and anything is better than the current Alexa app UI.
It’s the Ring Stick Up Cam Pro, and it offers radar-powered 3D motion sensing. Amazon says that will help users make more specific spots where the camera will keep an eye out for motion.
There’s a new Eero Max. It will start at $599.99, and have both Zigbee and Thread routers built in. The two 10GB ethernet ports will be capable of wired speeds up to 9.4 Gbps and the router will support up to 200 devices connected at once.
The Blink Sync Module Pro extends the range of Blink’s cameras beyond Wi-Fi, costs $49.99, and will be available early next year.
The new Blink outdoor battery pack will extend the new Blink Cam 4’s two-year battery life to four years. This was first promised about two years ago — so it’s nice to see it finally arrive.
The new Echo Pop Kids will cost $49.99 and include Amazon’s Kids Plus service.
But, boy, do they look ugly.
That’s ... impressive.
As promised, Signify has updated its Philips Hue Bridges with Matter support. Surprise! You can check by opening the Hue app and going to Settings > Smart Home, then add an integration. Tap “Other apps” and you should see a big Matter logo. Have fun! Oh, and if you already have Hue working through HomeKit and you like Adaptive Lighting, don’t switch to Matter on Apple Home.
[Philips Hue US]
Yes, Thread has some cool smart home uses, but the wireless protocol could also replace Bluetooth in other parts of Apple’s ecosystem.
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