The Samsung Home Hub looks like your average tablet, but serves as the central controller of your SmartThings smart home.Image: Samsung
Samsung continues its quest to make its SmartThings platform your favorite smart home app, revision of the interface, making the platform more friendly to tinkerers, and even bundle it with the company’s imagination Bespoke kitchen appliances.
Now the company is making a standalone screen for controlling the smart home. Called the Home Hub, it’s a docked tablet – think of the universal remote from the days of satellite TV. (Which, uh, wasn’t that long ago.)
You can use the Home Hub to turn off your Samsung TV, check the status of your devices, and monitor their energy usage. The Home Hub offers the same features as the SmartThings app on your smartphone and works with other Samsung services, such as SmartThings Cooking and Samsung’s Garment Care System.
Simply put, if you’re planning to go all-in with Samsung in the house, the Home Hub will bring it all together. The tablet debuts in Korea first, but of course you can always use the app on your phone and there’s still Aeotec’s third-party SmartThings hub that you can buy now to help you sync things up. Samsung’s Home Hub is intended to be a complementary smart home device rather than a replacement for existing devices.
The Home Hub will be compatible with unreleased Matter default. Samsung has publicly pledged to support Matter once devices become available in 2022.
Samsung’s SmartThings connected home platform is almost ten years old. But despite the sprawling existence of virtual assistants and smart screens, it still feels like the “home of the future” is struggling to find its way.
The Home Hub offers a bit of an edge over Google and Amazon’s voice-first smart home platforms. Samsung leans on what it does best: making hardware. Interestingly, it follows the physical route of the device rather than pushing hard on its virtual assistant, Bixby, which still exists, but which no one uses. A dedicated tablet with the SmartThings app front and center also seems to be more accessible for those who don’t like using a voice assistant and want a dedicated remote for their smart home.
Samsung also announced on CES 2022 that it is a founding member of the Home Connectivity Alliance, or HCA, which started it “to ensure that having multiple brand devices doesn’t require you to compromise your smart home experience.” This group of companies will be separate from the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), the committee that helps launch Matter and of which Samsung is also a member.
You might be wondering how helpful it is to consumers that another alliance is working on smart home interoperability while Matter hasn’t launched yet, and, well, that part is still unclear.
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