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LG launches first Smart-Grid appliance: the Smart Fridge

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April 27, 2011

LG has announced the launch of the Smart Refrigerator, which will allow users to get conne...

LG has announced the launch of the Smart Refrigerator, which will allow users to get connect with the device with a tablet or smartphone

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According to legend, while Scotland's Robert the Bruce was on the run he hid in a cave and observed a spider repeatedly trying and failing to spin its web from one area to another. Although it's unlikely that electronics giant LG has been studying Scottish lore, the "if at first you don't succeed, try try again" maxim has evidently been embraced with the announcement of the upcoming release of the company's latest connected fridge. More than a decade has passed since its Internet Fridge first broke cover to a somewhat cool reception. Now LG believes that the world – and technology – is ready to welcome the Smart Refrigerator.

LG had high hopes that its original Internet Refrigerator – with a 15.1-inch touchscreen display, entertainment hub possibilities and food management capabilities – would herald the dawn of connected domestic appliances. Sadly it didn't sell well, probably due to its very high cost, the relatively low spec in-built computer system and sluggish dial-up connection.

No doubt prompted by the recent appearance of similar solutions from Samsung and Electrolux, LG has decided to give it another shot. The company has announced plans to launch a range of THINQ-enabled domestic appliances by the end of the year, which will allow users to remotely manage their refrigerators, washing machines, ovens and robotic vacuum cleaners.

The fridge goes online (again)...

The first of the Smart range will launch in Korea shortly and is a much updated version of our old friend, the Internet Fridge. The new Smart Refrigerator will allow users to receive inventory updates from the Smart Manager application while out shopping with smartphones or tablets.

The Smart Manager touchscreen display in the door will offer users recipes based on the co...

The touchscreen display on the door can also come up with recipes based on what's cooling on the shelves within, and will furnish users with other useful information such as daily scheduling and local weather reports. It can also be used as a sticky-memo-free note pad.

Users will be able to manage the device's power consumption remotely, with three power-save options available – late night saving, preferable time saving and the Smart Grid-ready. The latter will come into its own as utility companies begin offering time-of-use pricing structures.

If something goes wrong with the Smart Refrigerator, a Smart Diagnosis application will provide diagnostic information to support staff, which holds the promise of a frustration-free conversation with tech support. Another app called Smart Adapt will take care of firmware updates.

Hit or miss?

On the face of it, this certainly looks like a promising effort from LG but a lot will depend on pricing, which at the time of writing hasn't been made available. After its Korean launch, the Smart Refrigerator will be rolled out to other countries.

If you're not too bothered about the smart functionality but would still like to enjoy some fridge door entertainment, then the Gorenje iPhone fridge from 2008 or the cheaper options (i.e. you don't have to buy the fridge) like the FridgePad could well be the way to go.

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag.   All articles by Paul Ridden
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6 Comments

If this goes the way of my damn washer with all its electronic controls, and virtual impossibility for easy repair then they can keep it. I don't want to have to reboot my fridge! I just want to plug it in and replace it every 20 years.

Paul Anthony
27th April, 2011 @ 08:05 am PDT

Ohhh, maybe I would go for it. Menu planning can really be a chore. Then again, I am usually the last to hop on the technological train so probably not.

Kate Givans
27th April, 2011 @ 01:45 pm PDT

I don't get it. Why do I want a touchscreen computer on my fridge? Of all places to put a computer, why a fridge? Heh? I've got a smart phone that goes everywhere with me, a laptop I take to and from work, a desktop in my home office and a games console that connects to the net and streams movies. But a fridge? I agree with Paul above, surely most people just want a fridge to keep their stuff cool and not cost too much. For all the power saving the fridge might be able to do, wouldn't that be offset by the fact you have to pay for a computer in it?

I guess I'm not the target market.

Scion
27th April, 2011 @ 07:19 pm PDT

A REALLY smart fridge would have a clear door and open at the counter-top. That way, you could see everything, all the cold wouldn't pour out ever time you opened it, and you would have extra counter space. Of course, it would cost a whole lot less, too, both to build (similar freezers are inexpensive), and to run.

TogetherinParis
29th April, 2011 @ 10:27 am PDT

I think this technology holds a lot of promise. What the article doesn't say is that the refrigerator tells you exactly what is in your fridge and how old it is -- you don't even have to open the door. The washer tells you if you have wet clothes waiting to go into the dryer. And you can set the dryer cycle from your smart phone or ipad. You can also make updates and manage your energy consumption from your smart phone or other electronic devices. I'd like the fridge in my kitchen -- once costs come down.

Barbara Vergetis Lundin, Editor, FierceEnergy, FierceSmartGrid
4th May, 2011 @ 06:28 am PDT

If this thing has a handheld wireless barcode scanner that scans items as you put them in the refrigerator, and one on the door that scans items when you take something out, and translates the input into something that is of value to the inventory system I would buy one. If however, you have to data entry everything you put in it with a keypad it would be worthless. I am positive my wife will be in no mood to do data entry after spending 2 hours at the grocery store.

It is possible that you will need the cooperation of food product manufacturers or government legislation to get detailed product information (like expiration dates) from the bar code.

Then you will have to put a voice that sounds when my son gets something out of it like: "What did you get from the Frig boy, how much is left in the container - program me please", then the inventory system will be of no value.

Maybe they should hire me to help them with this gizmo.

sku
8th May, 2011 @ 09:05 am PDT
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