In what might seem like an unexpected release, Aqara has announced a newly updated M2 hub for the Chinese market, dubbed the ‘M2 2022’. This new hub has been announced alongside another device that is absolutely going to only be used in China as well, but more on that in a bit.
The new hub looks pretty much identical to the one that came out in 2020 (in China), although the internals have been given an upgrade, with a dual-core A7 processor to make the hub ‘twice as fast’. It also now utilises the internal Bluetooth 5.0 radio.
One of the big changes, and one that many have asked for, is PoE (Power over Ethernet), which essentially allows the device to be powered directly via a wired ethernet connection, without the need for a separate power supply.
Alongside this, the M2 will also allow for custom audio files to be used – which we hope means the speaker will have also gotten an upgrade…
Finally, the hub now sports a threaded socket, allowing it to be mounted to a wall or ceiling – if you have such a fitting available of course. This was first used with the Aqara G3, with aftermarket brackets being sold in various online stores.
The hub still only uses Zigbee 3.0 as well as the addition of Bluetooth, but it’s entirely expected that this will get the update to Matter as is already going to be the case with the original M2, and most other Aqara Zigbee 3.0 hubs (sorry G2H…)
The second product I alluded to at the start is a new mini button with Aqara’s own personal assistant built-in – Xiao Qiao – hence the reason I mentioned its interest only to people in China (or people who speak Chinese I guess). The switch connects to the hub using Bluetooth, which both explains why Bluetooth has been activated in the new M2 and also why Zigbee isn’t used with the mini button/speaker, as Zigbee simply doesn’t have the bandwidth for audio transmission like Bluetooth does, whilst WiFi would eat through the device’s battery, which is claimed to last around 6 months.
All in all, this seems a slightly odd, if not entirely unwelcome release, given that the M3 was sort of announced not too long ago.
At present, there’s no sign of the new ‘2022’ hub or the PA (personal assistant) button available in Chinese stores, but doubtless, it’ll appear soon, especially given we’re fast approaching 2023…
Thank to Eric at Wave.tech for the tipoff.