Switchbot Release First HomeKit Enabled Device (U)
Switchbot is a company that has steadily made its presence known in smart home circles, even to the extent of HomeKit users, despite not having any compatible devices. This has so far been achieved with a mix of Siri Shortcuts usage and HomeBridge plugins. Now the company have taken their first step toward official HomeKit compatibility, with the release of its first HomeKit-enabled Switchbot Smart Plug Mini.
The Smart Plug Mini already exists, albeit as a non-HomeKit model, but a version designed to work with HomeKit, as well as the other usual platforms, is now out. Like many of the recent smart plugs that have come to market – which include the Eve Energy and the Wemo Mini – the Switchbot offering is of the compact type, which ensures that only one outlet is taken up, not blocking the other outlet. However, the Switchbot version uses standard 2.4GHz WiFi, not Thread, like the Eve or Wemo options, although interestingly, it also has the option to connect via Bluetooth (possible update to Thread later on perhaps?). This isn’t such a surprise given that most other platforms are still in the early stages when it comes to Thread support, with Apple leading the way at this point.
What the Switchbot model does offer is energy monitoring and usage, which is accessible via the company’s own app. This is something that the Eve Energy plugs have offered via their own app since the beginning, but it’s still good to see Switchbot taking energy conservation into account, especially in times where prices for all utilities are going up globally.
Having spoken to Switchbot support briefly, we couldn’t get any firm information on when or even whether the current non-HomeKit smart plugs will get a firmware update for HomeKit, or, for that matter, whether there are plans to update other products in the company’s catalogue lineup.
Currently, the non-HomeKit Switchbot Smart plug Mini retails for US$11.99, or just US$29.99 for a 4-pack, with the new HomeKit models now on Amazon.com for US$14.99.
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