A little over three years after getting out of the smart home hardware game, Samsung is back with a new smart home hub. And this time, Samsung has figured out a way to make you actually want to put a device hub in your home: by building it into a wireless charging pad.
The SmartThings Station is a chunky charging puck that supports Matter and Thread to connect devices like TVs, speakers, thermostats, lighting, and plugs to SmartThings. It also works with the new smart home standard Matter to onboard devices to any Matter platform.
And, of course, it can charge your gadgets. The Station doubles as a 15W fast wireless charging pad for Galaxy smartphones and earbuds (it will charge other phones, just not as fast). I am definitely here for these multipurpose hubs. While Matter requires a “controller” to work, no one was asking for more little white boxes to clutter up their entertainment consoles. I’m only a little sad we’re not getting the Samsung Home Hub the company showed off at CES last year.
Launching first in Korea and coming to the US in early February, the Station will cost $59.99 ($79.99 with a USB-C adaptor) according to and comes in black or white. It’s designed around Samsung’s existing wireless charging pad but is entirely new hardware and software.
We got a first look at the gadget here at CES, and it’s a nice, slimline, and compact device powered by USB-C. It has a small tactile button that triggers SmartThings scenes. It would be easy and inexpensive to have one of these in each main room of your home as somewhere to drop your phone while simultaneously turning on your lights — either by pressing the button or just by putting your phone on the charger.
The Station has the honor of being the first product to be released with Matter built in
I spoke to Jaeyeon Jung, head of Samsung SmartThings, here at CES this week about the new device, and she explained that it’s part of SmartThings’ “Hub Everywhere” strategy. “We stopped making SmartThings branded hardware and decided it would be much better for consumers if the smart home functionality was embedded within our products, rather than them having to buy separate devices,” she said. “Since then, we’ve been working to embed SmartThings hub functionality into Samsung products.”
In addition to smart home radios (more on those in a bit), Samsung has added a small button to the device. When you press this little SmartThings logo, it can control scenes or devices set up in the SmartThings app. There are three options: single-click, double-click, and long-press.
You can also use the charging state of Galaxy phones to trigger an automation. When you place the phone down to charge, say after 11PM, that could turn on a Good Night scene that shuts off your lights, locks your door, and adjust your thermostat. Then, when you pick it up after 7AM, it could turn on your Good Morning scene.
The Station works with the SmartThings Find service to help you locate your gadgets. If you set it up with your Galaxy smartphone, the pad will be pre-configured to ring your phone when you double-press the button. It also acts as an always-at-home Find device scanner, so you can know where your smartphones, tablets, watches, and earbuds are. Plus, a new function continually scans for Galaxy SmartTags or SmartTag Plus and can send a notification when a tag or device leaves or returns home.
The Station has the honor of being the first product to be released with Matter built in. It will be a Matter controller to onboard Matter smart home devices to your home network using any Matter-compatible app, including Apple Home or Google Home.
It’s also a Thread Border router alongside a Zigbee SmartThings hub and has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth radios built in. There is no Z-Wave support. You will still need to buy an Aeotec SmartThings Hub if you want support for your Z-Wave devices.
As a Thread border router, the Station will support any device that uses Thread, one of the key wireless protocols Matter is built on, alongside Wi-Fi. Thread is a low-power, low-latency mesh network primarily used for low-bandwidth devices such as sensors, lighting, and shades. The Station is currently the least expensive border router you can buy, and having multiple in your home could help extend a Thread mesh network for improved reliability and lower latency.
Jung says the company’s other products with smart home hubs built in are on track to get Matter support in the first half of this year. The Family Hub fridge line will be updated this month, and Samsung TVs and monitors in March of this year (2022 and newer models). The SmartThings Hub Dongle — which is designed to work with Samsung fridges and TVs to add Thread and Zigbee support — will be updated to Matter in the first quarter of this year and will work as a Thread border router.
Finally, Jung confirmed that the SmartThings iOS app will be Matter compatible this month, which will provide another option for iPhone owners to onboard Matter devices. Currently, only the Apple Home app supports Matter on iOS. Both Google Home and Amazon Alexa have yet to update their iOS apps to support Matter.
What is Matter?
Matter is a new smart home interoperability standard that provides a common language for smart home devices to communicate locally in your home without relying on a cloud connection. It uses Wi-Fi and Thread wireless protocols and, in its first rollout, includes smart sensors, smart lighting, smart plugs and switches, smart thermostats, connected locks, and media devices, including TVs.
All this means that if a smart home device you buy has the Matter logo on it, you should be able to set it up and use it with any Matter-compatible device and in any Matter-compatible platform. Matter-compatible devices should start to become available toward the end of this year.
Amazon Alexa, Google Home, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple Home are some of the big smart home platforms signed on to support Matter. Apple, Samsung, Amazon, and Google have updated their compatible hubs to be Matter controllers, and we expect to see updates arriving on other platforms shortly.