Samsung’s smart home company, SmartThings, has changed a lot since it was first introduced to the world via Kickstarter back in 2012. The platform, which once consisted only of a router-tethered hub, branded sensors, third-party device partners and an app, has since expanded to select Samsung fridges, TVs and beyond thanks to the Samsung Cloud launched last year. Suddenly, SmartThings looks like the most comprehensive smart home platform, at least at a glance. Both Google and Amazon are rapidly expanding the number of first-party devices that work with their Alexa and Google Assistant services, but neither has their own TV or refrigerator yet, outside of products from other manufacturers. Samsung SmartThings has both of those things, as well as Bixby, its own voice assistant. It’s been awhile since we took a close look at SmartThings, so I decided to spend some time with it — on my phone, and in the Samsung fridge and television installed in the CNET Smart Home. What is it like to have a home wholly operated by SmartThings (and Samsung) in 2019, you ask? Spoiler alert: not great. Read on to find out why. But first, some history Before Samsung purchased SmartThings in 2014, it was just one of many ideas launched during a crowdfunding campaign. Over one million dollars in pledges later, and SmartThings successfully launched its first-gen hub backed by its new parent company, Samsung. But there were some problems. The “universal” app, designed to bring every device together, didn’t come close to achieving its… [Read full story]
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