Samsung Connect Home: A Google Wifi clone with a SmartThings twist – CNET (Mar 29, 2017)
I’ll cover the other accessories announcements from Samsung in a separate item, but this one feels worth calling out by itself, because it’s really the first time Samsung has created any meaningful connection between its smartphones and the rest of its portfolio of appliances and smart home devices and therefore created a proper ecosystem. As with the new phones, we’ll have to see how this hub and associated apps perform in practice, but on paper this looks like a good combination of hardware and software for setting up and managing a Samsung-owned ecosystem of devices, incorporating both Samsung-branded appliances and the SmartThings home automation gear it also owns. The separateness of these parts of Samsung’s portfolio in the past has been baffling, because its smartphone base has been a big potential lever for moving SmartThings forward and it hasn’t used it. This now puts Samsung into more direct contention with some of the other ecosystems in this space, like Apple’s HomeKit, Alphabet’s Nest and Google Home, and Amazon’s Echo. And it’s another sign that other big companies are deepening their in-home infrastructure even as Apple appears to be backing away from its WiFi routers, at least for now. I suspect we’ll see something new from Apple in this space eventually, but for now its withdrawal from this market feels risky as routers and associated devices are going to be important components in a smart home ecosystem.
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