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Thread Just Unlocked the Universal Smart Home Future

Someone touching an Apple HomePod Mini.

With its latest update, the Thread wireless standard just set the stage for our universal smart home future. Devices that double as Thread border routers, such as the Apple HomePod Mini and Amazon Eero, are now compatible with all Thread-enabled devices regardless of their manufacturer.

If you own a handful of “incompatible” Thread devices, the Thread 1.3.0 update will provide improved compatibility, speed, and range within your smart home. But more importantly, this update lays the groundwork for Matter, a “universal translator” for smart home devices. Matter is actively supported by all the major players, and it will (hopefully) solve smart homes’ biggest problems—device compatibility and setup.

When it launches later this year, Matter will allow a slew of once-incompatible devices to work together (so long as you own a Thread border router). A product that’s made for HomeKit may work with your Google Nest Hub, for example. Setup is also improved, as Thread border routers appear as individual networks alongside your Wi-Fi router.

At the time of writing, very few devices double as Thread border routers. Apple jumped on the bandwagon early with the HomePod Mini and TV 4K, but select Nanoleaf lights and Eero routers also support the technology. More devices, including Google’s Nest Hubs, will gain Thread border router support when Matter launches.

Matter is expected to launch before the end of the year. If you already own a Thread border router and want the 1.3.0 update, you’ll have to wait for your manufacturer to push new firmware.

Source: Thread Group

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »