A major SmartThings update brings support for appliances, robot vacuums, and more through Matter

Samsung SmartThings looks set to become the first major smart home platform to fully support Matter 1.2. According to a press release, the SmartThings platform now works with Matter 1.2, so manufacturers and developers can start integrating their compatible devices with the platform. The SmartThings app won’t be updated to support Matter until later this summer — so you won’t be able to control your Matter-compatible Roborock robot vacuum or Midea dishwasher through SmartThings until then.

Samsung also announced several other updates to its smart home platform, including app design improvements, new device control options, a hub backup option, shareable routines, and the gamification of its SmartThings Energy feature.

Support for Matter 1.2 in SmartThings means the appliances added to the new smart home standard — developed jointly by Apple, Amazon, Google, Samsung, and others — will now work with Samsung’s smart home platform.

This includes refrigerators, room air conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines, robot vacuums, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, air quality sensors, air purifiers, and fans. You’ll be able to add the devices directly to the SmartThings app via Matter, control them, and receive notifications and alerts through the app.

The SmartThings platform already supports many of these appliances, both its own Samsung brand as well as those from other manufacturers (including Thermador, Bosch, and Dacor). But those are generally through cloud integrations.

Matter will bring these integrations local, which should mean faster response times and the ability to control devices even if your internet is down. While Samsung’s connected appliances work with the SmartThings app, they are not Matter certified. This means they only work with the SmartThings app, whereas Matter appliances can work with any smart home platform that supports Matter.

Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Home have yet to add support for Matter 1.2

However, the other major platforms, Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and Apple Home, have yet to add support for Matter 1.2. Apple announced it will support robot vacuums later this year, but there’s no word on any of the other device types. Home Assistant supports Matter 1.2, but its Matter integration is still in beta. While Matter 1.3 was announced in May, bringing support for energy management, microwave ovens, ovens, electric cooktops, extractor hoods, and electric dryers, it’s unclear when we’ll see widespread platform support.

There are currently only a handful of Matter-certified appliances in the newly supported categories — Roborock’s S8 MaxV Ultra, Ecovac’s Deebot X2 Combo robot vacuums, and AiDot’s air purifier being some examples. But now that one of the major platforms has announced support, I expect we’ll see manufacturers enabling it in their appliances. Whirlpool (which owns KitchenAid and Maytag), Midea, LG, and Haier (which owns GE Appliances) are all notable brands that have said their products will support Matter.

Samsung announced a few other enhancements for its platform besides a Matter update. It’s adding a new Hub Manager interface in the SmartThings app to provide a single place to manage multiple hubs. This adds the option to choose a primary hub as well as a new Hub Backup feature. If you have multiple SmartThings hubs, a secondary hub can kick in if the primary hub fails.

SmartThings has expanded its hub infrastructure significantly in recent years, adding SmartThings hubs into its TVs, soundbars, and smart fridges. With the Hub Backup feature, since it’s more likely you have multiple hubs in your house, if one gets unplugged, fails, or you replace it, your smart home will continue to operate. Most of Samsung’s newer SmartThings hubs support Thread, Zigbee, and Matter, but only the Aeotec SmartThings hub also supports Z-Wave.

Samsung Galaxy smartphone users are getting a new quick access Device Control feature. You’ll now be able to choose devices to add to your own home control page on the phone’s quick panel for fast access to adjust the TV’s volume or change a light’s brightness without opening the SmartThings app.

SmartThings Energy is getting gamified. Now, if you save 400Wh a day by using the energy management feature, you can earn Samsung Rewards.
Image: Samsung SmartThings

Energy management is a key feature of the smart home, and SmartThings Energy, SmartThings’ energy management service, is one of the more robust options. Now, Samsung is adding a neat gamification feature to the platform, which lets you view and manage energy use from compatible appliances to help you save energy. When you use Samsung’s AI Energy Mode, which automatically adjusts appliances’ energy use, you can earn an Energy Stamp for every day you save 400Wh of electricity. These can be converted into Samsung Rewards and spent on Samsung products at Samsung.com.

The SmartThings app is also getting some interface updates. The Devices tab will now display Rooms as top-level tabs, making managing your devices by room easier. Searching for devices has also been “enhanced” to help you find what you need quicker. Devices will also feature more glanceable information on their card, including the device’s status — for example, a door lock will indicate if it’s locked or unlocked.

You’ll also now be able to share any routines or automation you create in the app with friends and family. Shareable Routines will let you generate a QR code of a routine you’ve created for someone to scan to activate in the SmartThings app.

While these are mostly incremental improvements to the platform, they are all welcome updates that — if they work as advertised — will make using SmartThings to manage your smart home easier and more reliable. The platform has also been leading the way in Matter adoption, and while Matter is still far from the smooth, seamless smart home experience we’ve been promised, SmartThings now offers one of the most robust implementations.

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