One of the most popular smart home technology brands, Belkin’s Wemo, is officially pausing development of Matter devices. What was supposed to be a revolution in terms of interconnectivity and easy access has now lost one of its biggest contributors.
Jen Wei, Belkin’s vice president of communications, told The Verge on Thursday that while Matter will have a “significantly positive impact” on the smart home industry, the company has decided to “take a step back” to gain access to allow Matter for its future devices. Matter should allow users with many internet-connected home devices from different brands to sync them together more easily, allowing for easier setup, management, and security.
Developed by industry group Connectivity Standards Alliance, Matter essentially enables a Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE and Thread specification and SDK, allowing for quick and easy cross-brand adoption. Matter originally had an expected summer 2021 release date, but delay after delay led to a winter 2022 debut.
However, the hope was that regardless of a device’s origin, whether it was from Google, Amazon, Apple, Samsung, Signify or Wemo, setting up new devices in a connected home would be easy. Google promoted the standard, and in December the company began allowing users to pair their Android and Nest devices with Matter.
Gizmodo reached out to Belkin, but we didn’t receive an immediate response. Wei told Verge that Wemo will stop making Matter devices until the company finds a way to “differentiate” its devices from others in the market. Some Wemo devices already use Thread, such as Take Gizmodo’s popular (and personal favourite) Smart Plug product. Belkin promised last year to update its switches, dimmers, and smart-plug devices once Matter is installed, but there’s little hope of new Belkin Matter updates.
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There were 280 other companies that signed up for the Matter standard, and with big tech companies like Google obviously obsessing over interconnectivity, it’s hard to tell how tough Belkin’s decision will be. Gizmodo has reached out to the CSA for comment, and we’ll update the story when we hear more.
Of course, there was always a long way to go before the majority of these smart home devices were fully connected. Many legacy devices remain incompatible with Matter, and in the year it took the CSA to fully endorse the standard, the industry was clearly becoming restless. It may be some time before we learn how many other companies are also unwilling to play ball and would rather catch with themselves.