Where is Matter, the smart home standard of the future? The specification still feels like a theory. It doesn’t help that there’s yet another delay on the horizon.
Granted, it’s not easy pushing through a new specification for an entire industry that’s already in motion, even with Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, and all the other smart home heavyweights behind Matter. The standard was expected to launch in late 2020 but was delayed to mid-2021 when Project CHIP rebranded to Matter. Then, it got pushed back to the middle of this year. This newest progress update indicates we won’t see any Matter devices until at least the fall of 2022.
The Connectivity Standards Alliance, or CSA, updated its official blog to explain the delay. After CES 2022, the CSA and its members “looked at what’s left to do” and realized there were still more kinks to work out.
“To further improve code quality and stability and accommodate the breadth of Matter devices and platforms, we’re extending our testing and validation events,” writes the CSA. The extra time should help improve the software development kit, or SDK, for Matter-capable device makers.
If there’s any upside to this delay, the CSA indicates a “larger pipeline of Matter-enabled devices” will be available at launch. This extra runway will allow time to create a “robust supply chain” of development platforms for additional devices and device categories—in particular, the CSA mentions “more than 16 development platforms.” It also means a rollout where device manufacturers won’t have to rush out software in support of Matter.
This spring, there will also be a 9th test event before the final Matter Specification Validation Event (SVE) planned for the summer. Specifically, the validation event will be the “most complex and largest ever.” CSA expects to see more than 130 devices representing 15 device categories and sensor types, including smart bulbs and TVs, from more than 50 companies. Those companies exhibiting as part of the first wave will be able to apply for Matter certification and start shipping their devices to consumers once the specification is finalized and released.
The Verge asked the CSA’s Michelle Mindala-Freeman about how confident the group will hit the new Matter due date. “We will have the SDK complete in Q2 and will make a version of the specification available to our membership at the end of [June],” said Mindala-Freeman.
Regardless, the CSA doesn’t want you to worry. Concluding its blog, it promises it’s in the home stretch and certain “a couple extra months will be worth the wait.” That might be true from a logistics standpoint. But for consumers, it feels like our smart homes have to stay in a holding pattern until then.