Here’s a weird thing; back in April, Nanoleaf announced that existing Shapes, Lines, and other Wi-Fi lighting products would not “immediately” receive a Matter update. We hoped to get some clarification at the Matter launch event in Amsterdam, but when we brought up the topic, Nanoleaf remained tight-lipped—what gives?
In theory, Nanoleaf Shapes and Lines are perfect for Matter. They already double as Thread border routers, thanks to a set of updates that rolled out from August 2021 to January 2022. Plus, Nanoleaf confirms that its upcoming Matter-ready Essentials will support Matter’s Multi-Admin protocol for compatibility with other companies’ apps and accessories.
So, why is Nanoleaf holding out? In the old April press release that I mentioned earlier, Nanoleaf explained that existing products are already set up in customers’ homes. Rolling out a Matter update would “divert development time and resources” for something that wouldn’t “change the way you currently use” Shapes or Lines.
I’d say that this is some pretty sound logic. At least, it would be if Nanoleaf shut its doors and never sold another product. New customers would absolutely benefit from Matter-compatible Shapes and Lines, as they would streamline device setup and encourage Matter adoption across the smart home industry.
While I don’t want to make any assumptions, I worry that Nanoleaf will simply launch a new lineup of Matter-compatible Shapes and Lines. After all, that’s what it just did with the Essentials lineup! This strategy would leave existing customers in the dust, which doesn’t seem like a good idea (especially if existing Shapes and Lines are truly “Matter-compatible,” as Nanoleaf claimed earlier this year).
Now, to be clear, Nanoleaf was pretty transparent about the situation with its Essentials. It originally designed Essentials as Matter-ready products (two years ago, mind you), but as the specification underwent delays and overhauls, Essentials suddenly became incompatible with Matter. Launching a new line of Essentials was Nanoleaf’s only option, and it told us so earlier this year.
We need this kind of transparency for Shapes and Lines. Are existing Shapes and Lines compatible with Matter, or are they not? Will they be replaced by new Matter-compatible products, or will they receive an update?
For what it’s worth, Nanoleaf tells us that it has some Matter-related announcements ready for CES 2023. Perhaps we just need to sit and wait.