Even the best smart speakers can be made better – and with Matter making it easier for different firms' smart home tech to interact with each other, Matter upgrades are well worth having. Amazon has already upgraded many of its existing smart speakers to support Matter, and it's now published a new Alexa update that brings the tech to older Echo devices too.
This new update is relevant to two generations in particular: the second generation Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot, which can now be used as Matter controllers, and the Echo 4th Generation, which can now be configured as a Thread border router. That adds to its existing support for Wi-Fi, Zigbee, Bluetooth Low Energy Mesh and plain old Matter: Thread is a smart home connection just like Zigbee or Bluetooth LE Mesh, so Matter Over Thread means the 4th Generation Echo can use the Matter protocol via Thread networking. It's simpler than that sounds, I promise.
Amazon also adds Echo support for Eve devices
The update is also good news for anybody who has or plans to buy Eve devices but who didn't want to shell out for Apple HomeKit-enabled products to control them. Matter Over Thread means Alexa can now communicate directly with multiple Eve devices, and Amazon says it'll also introduce easier setup for Eve Energy, Eve Motion and Eve Door & Window devices later this year.
Amazon deserves credit here: it was one of the first big names to really get enthusiastic about Matter, and so far it's more than kept its promises to bring Matter to as many of its devices as possible – including the ones you already own. For many firms Matter is something they prefer to add only to their very newest devices, and as a result the standard isn't yet as popular as it will be in a year or two. For now you still need to check the spec sheet carefully if you want your smart home kit to be as flexible and as future-proof as possible.