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Alexa is getting some major updates in Amazon's goal of achieving an interoperable ambient smart home environment. Amazon has reached over 100 million Matter-enabled Echo devices distributed in customer homes by enabling the 2nd-generation Echo, Echo Plus, and Echo Dot devices to become Matter controllers. This makes for 20 models of Echo devices that now support Matter.
Also: Amazon's Alexa is about to get a lot more capable, CEO says
The company also announced the update for the 4th-generation Echo that will effectively turn it into a Thread border router, supporting not only Zigbee, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi, but also Matter-enabled Thread devices, is effective today.
A Thread border router connects devices in a Thread network to Wi-Fi or ethernet. Thread is a mesh network for low-power smart devices typically used in smart homes, like some smart plugs and entry sensors. Some examples of Thread border routers include the Apple TV 4K, Nanoleaf's Line, Elements, and Shapes, and now, the fourth-generation Echo.
Also: How to change Alexa's voice on your phone or Echo device
Expanding the amount of Matter controllers and updating the Echo to become a Thread border router means that we're much closer to a world where consumers can connect most of the available smart home devices on the market, without giving second thought to interoperability with their smart home systems.
The new Amazon updates also mean customers can now set up Matter devices with iOS, and the company says this includes Matter-enabled Thread devices.
Some Eve devices are prepared to work with Alexa as of today, with the smart home system's support for Matter over Thread devices. Though previously a brand mostly reserved for HomeKit users, this new update gives compatible devices like Eve Door & Window, Eve Motion, and Eve Energy the ability to tout the Works With Alexa badge, which can make them more discoverable on Amazon's website, as well as let customers quickly identify them.
Also: Amazon's Alexa scientists demonstrate bigger AI isn't always better
This also means Eve will also have Frustration-Free Setup (FFS) for all its Matter-enabled devices, starting later this month. FFS makes it easy to set up new devices out of the box, where consumers can power the new device and it will connect to the network almost immediately and with little intervention, almost like a plug-and-play feature for smart home devices.