I am using the current SmartThings app on a version 3 Samsung ST hub. On the app, the hub device has an information page with firmware version, and also shown is a “Controller version” (image attached). The controller version looks like it is independent of the firmware version. I noticed my controller version changed from 2.2.11-4 to 2.2.13-9 sometime between Dec 6, 2021 and Dec 24, 2021, while the firmware version stayed the same.
Can someone please shed some light on what the “controller” is? In particular, is it a software component that runs on the hub?
You will see the same ‘controller version’ on most devices.
My best understanding is that it is the ‘plug-in controller’, the part of the app that handles the way a device is presented and controlled in the app. It is downloaded independently from the mobile app itself.
Most devices use the default plug-in and indeed I don’t think I have noticed one that doesn’t, but then I only use a very limited range of devices. The SmartThings developer docs used to describe how to write a custom plug-in for your own devices. I don’t think that is in the current ‘developer preview’ documentation.
I might not have the detail quite right and in particular I could well be conflating the controller and the actual plug-ins but I think I am in roughly the right place.
If I’m reading your hunch correctly the controller would be a software component running on my phone and not on the hub. I did suspect it might be a component of the SmartThings app and not the hub, however the version for the controller is shown on the information page for the hub which would be really odd if it’s a component of the mobile app and not of the hub.
I just noticed that this controller version shows on the information page for every device, so it well could be a piece of information that is not specific to just the hub device.
It is on the bottom of the information page for every device, including ones that don’t even use the hub.
It is not really that much of a hunch. It is just that I haven’t read the documentation on this area for a year or two and I can’t remember the fine detail, if indeed it was ever there. SmartThings have a habit of describing A in terms of B and C, but not describing B and C, or indeed assuming we just know what A is.
As far as I know, the term “controller”, somewhat similar to a plug-in for the smartthings app, came into use with the V3 version of the smartthings app in 2018. At least that’s when it started to show up in the end user documentation.
I think the term may have come over from the old “Samsung connect“ app when that one was folded into the SmartThings app.
I run my account in a “hub optional“ configuration – – no hub at all. And my devices all still have controllers with version numbers. For example, I occasionally see the “update controller” message for my Meross devices, which are Wi-Fi and have a cloud to cloud integration.
Here’s another discussion thread showing the update message
Update Device Controller (New App V3)
@orangebucket thanks for taking the time to share, I did miss that it was on every device until after I first responded to your comment! (see my previous comment).
@JDRoberts thank you, very interesting. I have not experienced the controller update pop ups…yet
I’m running into an issue where the controllers do not trigger (or turn on/off via the app) correctly until this download is done. Is this different than the firmware updates that you can select in the hub menu?
Firmware updates are applied to the device itself, like a light switch or a smart plug, and originate with the device manufacturer. They are applied by the hub, regardless of what phone client you use.
Device controllers as we’ve been discussing in this thread are plug-ins to the SmartThings app and control how the device displays in the app. They are downloaded to your phone, not the end device, and might be updated for only one kind of phone. So If your household had both android and iOS devices, you might see the device controller update on only one. Or even only on a Galaxy phone.