CES is always full of surprises, aside from the quirky to the downright ridiculous, but we can always rely on Aqara to pull something out of their hat to get HomeKit News talking. Putting to one side the previously reported official announcement of the Aqara hub M3, that was released officially in China just last week, the Shenzhen based company has now revealed two new products, a WiFi based smart plug that can also act as a full Thread Border Router, and another Smart Lock, with Apple HomeKey, no less.
First off is the U300, which stands out as the very first smart lever lock to use Matter over Thread, providing interoperability across a range of smart home platforms, with Apple HomeKey as one of its many selling points. Designed for both indoor and outdoor use, this new lock replaces conventional US levers or knobs with a deadbolt, making it ideal for side entries, garage access, home offices, basements, and storage rooms. the U300 offers a variety of access options, including fingerprints, passcodes, NFC, Apple HomeKey, and voice assistant integration (Siri, Google, Alexa etc).
The company claim 8 months of battery life for the lock, which is helped with the use of Matter over Thread, that is going to work very well with the forthcoming M3 Hub, due to it also acting as a Thread Border Router, a Matter Controller, and a Zigbee 3.0 hub. And speaking of Thread Border Routers…
This one will have caught everyone off guard, as we’re all familiar with smart plugs, but this new Aqara Border Router Plug signifies a groundbreaking development in smart plugs and stands out as one of the first plugs to integrate Thread Border Router capabilities. Fitted with Thread and dual-band Wi-Fi, this plug allows Matter controllers without Thread capabilities to manage Thread devices, facilitating integration of Thread devices into smart home systems without the necessity for a new Matter controller with Thread Border Router capabilities.