Some smart home hubs, like SmartThings, use the cloud to enhance their capabilities. That lets them do more on weaker hardware, but the hub loses some or all of its functionality if the cloud stops working. Samsung plans to wind down its older SmartThings hardware and hubs from 2013, and Nvidia Shield adapters will stop working on June 30th, 2021.
Update: June 30th has arrived, and so NVIDIA SmartThings Link and older SmartThings hubs will stop working shortly. Alas, the deal mentioned below is no longer available. If your hardware is still under warranty, apply for that Samsung refund as soon as possible.
All Samsung-made SmartThings hubs from 2013 and the SmartThings Link for Nvidia Shield will stop working. After June 30th, you’ll be able to see connected Wi-Fi and cloud-connected devices in the SmartThings app, but that’s it. All automation for Z-Wave, ZigBee, and LAN devices will stop working. If you have one of the more recent Samsung SmartThings hubs from 2015 or 2018, everything will work as usual.
If you’re not sure which you have, check out the image above. The SmartThings Hub from 2013 is on the left, the middle is from 2015, and the right is from 2018. You can also check by comparing features: the 2013 version didn’t have local-processing capabilities, whereas the 2015 and 2018 versions do. And the 2018 version added ethernet ports.
If you own a 2013 version of Samsung SmartThings hub or Samsung Link, you’re not totally out of luck. Samsung plans to stop manufacturing SmartThings hubs altogether, but it opened up the software to other companies to manufacture SmartThings hubs. If you’re using either of the old devices, Samsung will help you get a 65% discount on Aerotec’s latest SmartThings hub (EDIT: alas, this offer expired). You’ll have to do some work to convert everything, but it should be easier than switching to a new smart home ecosystem entirely.
If your hardware is still under warranty after June 30th, 2021, Samsung will even offer a partial refund. You’ll need to visit the Samsung Refund page, and you’ll have to return your device for recycling, but at least it won’t end up in a landfill. And if you take advantage of that, you can still get the 65% discount on a new hub.
When it comes to smart homes, the truth is your setup might break at any time, and there isn’t much you can do to prevent it. But at least in this scenario, one of the hubs is seven years old and already out of manufacturing. The Samsung Link is only four years old so that one hurts a little more. Offering a discount on a new hub helps, but down the road, you may find yourself switching to Wi-Fi-powered devices anyway.