SmartThings app gets an overhaul to better tame the smart home

Samsung has launched its latest generation of SmartThings, with the smart home and connected devices platform promising to make automations easier and actions more stable. The revamped SmartThings gets a new interface, too, following Samsung's release of a version of the app for Windows.

Samsung acquired SmartThings back in 2014, and for a while users worried that the company would eventually dilute the flexibility which had made the system so popular. While SmartThings does have its own hardware, such as door and window sensors, cameras, and other IoT mainstays, it's also designed to play nicely with third-party devices, bringing them all together under the same umbrella.

Since then, we've seen some hiccups in the road, including Samsung's decision to end support for some SmartThings hardware. Now, the focus appears to be on taming the smart home in general, trying to cut through the complexities of places with dozens or more devices.

The new SmartThings interface will be key in that. It's split into five sections now: Favorites, Devices, Life, Automations, and Menu. The Favorites pane is the new de-facto home screen, prioritizing frequently-used devices, scenes, and services.

If you want granular control, the Devices section shows everything that SmartThings has control over. Automations is the place for routines and triggers to be established; if you want a certain connected light to turn on when you open a particular door, that's where you'll find the controls for that. Menu, meanwhile, will have all the platform notifications and history, the settings, and access to SmartThings Labs where the experimental and new features are trialed.

As for the Life section, that's where Samsung makes its pitch for the smart home in general. From the sound of it, it'll be a mixture of tutorials and guides, and shopping options for new hardware.

In the background, meanwhile, Samsung is also looking ahead to new smart home connectivity. Matter, for example, is being embraced – the platform formally known as Project CHIP – meaning SmartThings will support devices over WiFi, Z-Wave, and Zigbee along with the new technology. There's support for everything from Sonos and Hue, through Nest, Ring, Lutron Caseta, Yale, and Honeywell. If you've got a Google Assistant or Alexa smart speaker, they can be used to control SmartThings too.

Android devices can get access to the new SmartThings interface from today, while the iOS update will arrive "shortly after," Samsung promsies.