Samsung introduced its first standalone SmartThings smart home controller at CES 2022. The Samsung Home Hub is designed to be a central place for a household to control and monitor their smart home without having to buy a $4,000 smart fridge.
While there are precious few details about this new device, other than it’s not coming to the US yet and will launch in Korea in the first half of 2022, from the one picture we’ve got, it looks good. Honestly, it looks like the smart home controller we wish Apple, Amazon, or Google would make.
The transition from smartphone control of the smart home to voice control has not been a seamless one. There are many times when it’s easier to tap on a screen to turn on the lights or lock the back door than it is to raise your voice, and a simple, easily accessible interface to do this is something the smart home still needs.
If we’re going to drag members of our households into the smart home, it’s got to be easier for them to control it
Smart displays from Google and Amazon have largely failed to provide a usable dashboard for this type of control, instead requiring multiple swipes and taps to get to what you need. These displays also try to be multitaskers in the home, part calendar, part radio, part TV, part smart home device, partly failing to do well most of what they attempt.
Case in point, Amazon’s new Echo Show 15, which I thought would be the solution I’d been looking for to control my smart home, since I took down the aging iPad Mini I had installed in my wall. (Its screen finally gave up the ghost — turns out being permanently plugged in and sitting vertically on my wall for four years was not good for it.)
Sadly, the software on the Show 15 doesn’t live up to the promise of the hardware and while it looks fantastic, its limited smart home controller interface means it just won’t work for my home.
What I, and many like me, want is a dedicated smart home dashboard, something that has shortcuts to control devices, trigger scenes, and view live camera feeds. That’s not to say there isn’t room for Echo Shows and Google Nest Hubs that do part of what they’re supposed to do really well. But a dedicated smart home interface mounted on a wall or set up on a counter is what is needed.
There are a few attempts at solving this problem out there — the touchscreen Brilliant Control Panel that replaces your existing light switches is an innovative solution that takes advantage of a house’s existing wiring. But installing that system in every room will set you back a pretty penny and the screen is much smaller than a tablet, making it less intuitive for all users.
The Samsung Family Hub refrigerator features a built-in tablet that acts as a smart home controller.
What I like about Samsung’s Home Hub so …….