Aqara began rolling out beta firmware designed to bring many of its devices already in smart homes in line with the new Matter connectivity protocol. Matter makes it easier for devices from different makers to work together.
The update works via Aqara’s M2 Hub with more than 40 of the company’s Zigbee-controlled devices. But it might not roll out to all users until March, however, and the company cautioned HomeKit users about it.
Aqara firmware update brings Matter protocol support to M2 Hub users and 40+ of the company’s Zigbee devices
Aqara’s new firmware update may take up to six weeks for all M2 Hubs to be updated with version V4.0.0 (beta), The Verge said. Other Aqara hubs will receive the update in subsequent months.
When in place, the update will enable users to let any of more than 40 of the company’s smart gadgets Zigbee-controlled to support the Matter standard. Zigbee enabled mesh network communications via intermediate devices.
Aqara devices to gain Matter support this way include various sensors, switches, LED bulbs, plugs, thermostats and more.
Bridging access to Matter via software is pretty common among smart-home device manufacturers for products consumers already have installed. But many makers, including Aqara, are also releasing new Thread-networking-enabled products directly compatible with the Matter standard.
For now, only Apple HomeKit and Google Home will detect Matter devices after the update, Aqara said. But other smart-home systems will do so soon.
Aqara cautions HomeKit users
However, the company noted HomeKit users might not want to enable Matter support right away for a handful of reasons.
As The Verge reported:
The company cautions Apple Home users against switching to Matter right now ‘as Matter can not provide full HomeKit functionality’ without explaining exactly what will be lost. It does say that Apple Home networks will see duplicate devices for M2 hubs connected to Matter that were previously connected to HomeKit.
Aqara also says that devices connected to Apple Home via Matter may suffer from ‘no response’ messages as they are ‘very sensitive to the Wi-Fi router quality and signal,’ although company spokesperson Michell Li says the matter is ‘significantly improved’ with iOS 16.3.