A Kickstarter campaign has been launched for a new IR Blaster called the Qubiot Remote Pro that will reportedly be Matter-compatible once successfully released. Despite there already being two devices on the market that perform this functionality via Matter, namely the Switchbot Hub 2 and the more recent Nature Remo Nano, the Qubiot seems to offer a bit more for your money than simple IR control.
Aside from the device being able to control pretty much any device that comes with an infrared remote control and push it to your preferred smart home platform via Matter, this little box (80 x 80 x 60mm) comes with both a wired or WiFi connection to hook up to your network. It also purportedly comes with Bluetooth (for onboarding via Matter, and controlling other BLE devices), Thread and Zigbee. As if that wasn’t enough, it also contains an RF433MHz radio to control devices that use that frequency instead of IR.
What some might find amusing is that you will also be able to separately purchase an actual remote control to work with the Qubiot! That might seem like the whole concept turning in on itself, but in one sense it does seem a logical extension. The optional remote connects and talks to the main IR blaster, so if someone uses the remote instead of via their chosen Matter smart home platform, the devices should still be in sync, due to the two devices communicating via Bluetooth.
The advantages of this are that the one remote can replace a multitude of remotes for those who still prefer the hands-on experience, whilst avoiding device states to go out of sync which is inevitable if a traditional remote was used on your TV, AC unit or AV receiver, for example.
There will also be an option to choose from one of three colours – Graphite, Black & white, or Total Black.
There are a few things to be aware of, putting to one side the potential for you to lose money on a project that doesn’t come to pass. First off, it would appear that the device is not yet listed with the CSA (Connectivity Standards Alliance) as a Matter-certified device. That’s probably to be expected, given that the project has only just launched, with production not due to start until sometime between January and March of next year. It’s also worth noting that some companies who’ve used Crowdfunding to launch products in the past have espoused compatibility with things like HomeKit etc. only for all references to such compatibility to quietly be removed once funds have been secured. Still, this does seem ambitious even if the days of IR-controlled devices are on the decline.
The Qubiot is preselling on Kickstarter for around US$80, with the optional remote selling for roughly US$66.