LG, the South Korean electronics manufacturer, has introduced its first Smart Thinq connected appliance last week in its home country with a refrigerator that knows what’s inside it. The appliance can even communicate with your phone. According to an LG spokesman, a similar connected fridge will launch in the U.S. during the fourth quarter of this year or in the first quarter of next. Your kitchen is about to get a similar level of connectivity as your living room.
The Smart Thinq refrigerator got a lot of press last year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas as smart appliances were all the rage. At the time the press was excited by the Android-based OS that enabled the fridge to communicate with your smartphone and share information like the contents of the fridge. The idea was that when someone got home from the grocery store they could choose to tell the fridge what was inside using a touchscreen or they could scan a bar code on their receipt that would contain the information about their purchases.
In this ideal world, the fridge would then be able to suggest recipes for the family based on their weight goals, age, gender and whatnot. If the consumer selected a fridge-offered recipe the appliance could shoot the recipe to the Smart Thinq over and it could preheat. All of the connectivity occurs via Wi-Fi, and the controls are based in the phone and in the touchscreen.
For people like me who grocery shop against a meal plan for a week,the recipe features don’t sound all that appealing, but other features such as calorie counting or notifying me of expiration dates are pretty cool. And if grocery stores participate — assuming we get some data standards for food — then the fridge could identify when certain items are out and order them for home delivery.
The refrigerator that launched Nov. 14 in South Korea costs 4,790,000 won or ($4,425.30) which is a high price to pay for a refrigerator that doesn’t also cook your food for you, but if it gets to a point where it would do my grocery shopping I’d probably pay for that.