Matter, the new smart home interoperability standard being developed by Google, Apple, Amazon, Samsung and others, has been delayed. Again. The launch is expected this summer and has been moved to fall 2022, Michelle Mindala-Freeman of the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), which oversees Matter, told me. The edge†
The delay is necessary to complete the software development kit (SDK) that device manufacturers will use to integrate their products into the Matter ecosystem. According to Mindala-Freeman, due to a larger-than-expected number of platforms adopting Matter, the code for the SDK needs more work to make sure everything works together smoothly — which is the overall promise of the Matter standard.
In addition, she says that while the feature set for the Matter spec is complete, more time is needed to work on a few key areas of the SDK “to stabilize, adapt, tune, and improve the quality of the code.” improve.”
This isn’t the first slowdown for Matter, an ambitious venture that aims to unite the disparate devices and ecosystems of the smart home and make everything work together. Originally announced in late 2019 with a planned late 2020 release, Project CHIP, as it was then known, was delayed to sometime in 2021. In August 2021, after a rebrand to Matter, the release was delayed to mid-2022. Now, just three months after the point where we thought we’d see Matter devices coming, the release has been delayed until fall 2022.
How confident is the CSA that it will meet this new deadline? “We will have the SDK completed in Q2 and will make a version of the specification available to our membership by the end of this year [June]”, says Mindala-Freeman. “These are definitely things that instill our confidence that our membership is all-in on Matter, and are moving forward to be done this fall.”
According to the new timeline, we could still see Matter-certified products this year, but maybe not as much as we’d hoped and definitely later than originally planned. One hundred and thirty devices in 15 categories from 50 companies are part of the first rollout that is already going through the testing process. These devices include smart bulbs, plugs, and switches; smart locks, thermostats, blinds and sensors; and garage door controllers, wireless access points, bridges and TVs. Companies in this first wave will be ready to apply for and ship Matter certification to users as soon as the Matter specification is released.
“The long and short of [the delay] is scale, scope and doing something that is absolutely one hundred percent something new that has never been done before,” says Mindala-Freeman. “It takes time.”
The CSA also gives more time to build and verify a larger-than-expected number of platforms (OSs and chipsets), which it hopes will see Matter launch with a healthy array of compatible Matter devices, apps and ecosystems. This need arose over the past year based on activity observed in the project’s Github repository.
More than 16 platforms, including OS platforms such as Linux, Darwin, Android, Tizen and Zephyr, and chipset platforms from Infineon, Silicon Labs, TI, NXP, Nordic, Espressif Systems and Synaptics will now support Matter. “We thought there would be four or five platforms, but now there are more than 16,” says Mindala-Freeman. “The volume with which component and platform vendors have been attracted to Matter has been tremendous.”
The knock-on effect of these SDK changes is that the CSA will have to give its 50 member companies currently developing Matter-compatible products one more chance to test those devices before going through the Matter certification process.
The CSA also shared details of that initial certification process with: The edge† After a specification validation (SVE) event this summer — a final check of all testing procedures to verify a product will work with Matter — companies can formally test their devices and apply for Matter certification. In general, an SVE process takes a few weeks, but this process is expected to take 6 to 8 weeks. “The interest in matter is unprecedented,” said Jon Harros, director of certification and testing programs for the CSA. So more time is needed.
All this means it will be at least six months before we see Matter devices on the shelves, probably longer. That timeline is only for devices from the 50 companies currently in the testing process, who are allowed to test their products through the SVE. Others will have to wait for the SVE to complete to begin testing.
For those other companies, the product rollout could begin at the end of the year or in 2023. But they will get a head start on development as the CSA decided to make a near-final 0.9 Matter spec available to the CSA’s 450-plus members in June (when they originally expected to get the final spec ). This means they can start developing products and be ready to test and certify as soon as Matter 1.0 is released.
In a blog post about the delay published today, the CSA emphasized that this is less of a setback and more of an extension to allow for development for more platforms. “The finish line is in sight,” the post says, and that a few extra months will be worth the wait to “break down the walled gardens in IoT.”
Correction, Thursday, March 17, 09:50 AM: In an earlier version of this article, the name of the SVE was incorrectly stated, it is a specification validation event. We regret the mistake.