Most of Amazon’s Echo speakers will get upgraded to Matter, the cross-platform smart home standard
Matter is an open-source, cross-platform smart home standard that is coming later this year. Amazon has said that most its Echo speakers will be upgraded to that.
There is a cross-platform, open-source standard coming later this year that is going to make setting up smart homes easier. Amazon, Google, Samsung, Apple, and a whole bunch of other firms have agreed to come on board for this standard that's called Matter. Now, Amazon has taken the first step towards committing towards upgrading to Matter and has said that almost every plug-in Echo speaker is going to support Matter including the Echo, Echo Dot speakers, Echo Studio, Echo Show, Echo Plus, and Echo Flex. The only Amazon Echo smart speakers that are not going to get upgraded to Matter are the first-gen Echo, first-gen Echo Dot and the Echo Tap.
Amazon has not provided a timeline for when these upgrades to Matter are going to happen, but we know that Matter is launching by late 2021 so it is expected that Amazon is going to roll out the upgrade to its newest and more popular devices soon. The Amazon Echo speakers might gradually get it over time. Ideally, all the upgrades should be rolled out by the time Matter launches later this year.
The bigger question, as The Verge points out, is whether these Amazon Echo speakers will work as Matter hubs. Google had announced in May this year that besides upgrading its Nest devices to Matter, it was going to allow its devices that support the Thread protocol, so devices like the Nest Wi-Fi, Nest Hub Max, the second-gen Nest Hub, to double as connection hubs for Matter and not just function as voice assistants to control Matter gadgets. Amazon's Eero routers adopted Thread early, but the Echo smart speakers are yet to catch up.
This upgrade announcement on Echo speakers come as a part of Amazon's Alexa Live developer session where the company also revealed that a bunch of additional features were going to be available to Alexa developers soon along with a message for Matter developers. “We will soon be rolling out tools that make it easy for you to build Matter certified devices, and are ready to start testing your Matter devices now,” Amazon said.