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Athom Blog

The official blog by Athom, creators of Homey

Homey v2.0 and the future

Posted on July 7, 2017 in Behind the Magic

At Athom, we are always working to bring the best experience to as many people possible. Recently we’ve announced that as of Homey v2.0 all desktop interfaces will be replaced by one smartphone app. This has raised many questions, so in this blogpost I will explain what is exactly going to happen.

Mobile first

The world is quickly switching to a place where smartphones are the primary device for many users, and the traditional desktop (PC and Mac) is diminishing in people’s personal lives. The computer is becoming a productivity tool, to create things, whereas the smartphone is used for everything else.

When we started development on Homey, the mobile landscape wasn’t as widespread as it is now. There are many users who don’t even own a PC or Mac anymore, just a smartphone and sometimes an additional tablet.

Our mission has always been about making home automation accessible for everyone, so it is a logical choice to focus on supporting devices where most users are. Additionally, as a company we must sell enough Homeys to stay alive, and the market of desktop-first users isn’t large enough to be profitable at all.

A brand new App

Our focus will be on creating a brand new smartphone app, which will be a worthy replacement of the desktop interface. It will enable you to control and add devices, create Flows, view Insights, talk & chat with Homey, manage and play your music, create alarms and much more.

Because we start fresh, yet with the experience we gained and the knowledge of what Homey actually is (we didn’t exactly know what Homey would become when we started back then), we have designed a new interface that works for everyone, and will combine many Homey-parts now separated. For example, a single device view with buttons to control, the device’s insights, Flows made with that device, etc. Or a feature we’re planning on for a later release, Share a Flow, which integrates with your smartphone’s own share functionality. Neat!

The new smartphone app will be downloadable separately from the current app, so we can test new features without breaking the current app. When the new app is finished and Homey v2.0 is released, the old app will then no longer be maintained. The new app will initially support smartphones, and later on tablet devices and iPads.

Athom is still a small company with no more than twelve people, so it is essential that we focus. That’s why we have decided to remove the entire desktop interface as of Homey v2.0, so we can invest all our energy in the smartphone app. I can imagine there are users who don’t like our new direction, as with any change. It is always possible to disable Homey’s automatic updates, but trust us, updating is gonna be worth it.

A better developer ecosystem

We have always been very open, and with Homey v2.0 this will only become more important. Just after we release the new Smartphone app, we will launch a module for developers called athom-api, which is a client for Athom Cloud and Homey’s Web Api. Developers will be able to create their own front-ends for Homey, such as a custom dashboard, or integration with another service.

Next to these cloud services, the development of Homey Apps shouldn’t become harder when we’ve dropped the desktop interface. We will therefore launch a new developer portal with powerful tools to aid in apps development. This environment will from start feature both a pair-wizard and settings-view debugger, a speech debugger, and loads of documentation and examples.

The future

It’s always exciting to do something new, and we’ve learned that no matter how hard we try, we can never make everyone happy, but I have great confidence in our current plans. When we pitched this idea to some of our most active developers, it was heartwarming to see that they quickly became very excited about all new possibilities. And personally, I feel we’ve finally figured out what Homey should be for everyone.

– Emile

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