We’ve talked a little bit about smart homes, including some affordable smart home gadgets that make joining the connected home revolution pretty easy. But if you really want to go all in, take a look at what very well might be the smartest refrigerator in the world: the Samsung Family Hub.
The Family Hub features 28 cubic feet of storage space with a double-door refrigeration unit on top, and also another double-door refrigeration and freezer section on the bottom left. The bottom right is something Samsung calls “FlexZone,” and can either be used as a fridge or freezer depending on your needs.
With Wi-Fi connectivity, the Family Hub feels like a mix between a giant smartphone and your standard fridge. At a retail price of $5,600 it’s not cheap by any means, but the list of features does make the Family Hub one of the most advanced refrigerators we’ve seen so far.
A large 21.5-inch display graces the front door, which looks much like a smartphone screen. The screen shows a variety of information, including a clock and news, weather, reminders, and a feature that allows you to display digital post-it notes to leave messages for others.
There’s even a set of three cameras inside of the fridge that take pictures every time you shut the door. You’ll be able to access these from your smartphone, which we think is a nice feature at the grocery store. How many times have you forgotten what exactly you needed once you got there? This feature seems like a foolproof way of letting you know whether you have eggs and milk or need to pick up some more.
More than just a refrigerator
“The refrigerator was once viewed simply as a place to cool and store food. In time, it became the center of the home and the family bulletin board, where families shared notes, photos, and artwork, and kept shopping lists,” Samsung Home Appliance vice president John Harrington said. “We saw an opportunity to introduce a refrigerator that redefines the category – a refrigerator that goes beyond storage and one that brought the center of your kitchen into the digital age.”
Of course the Family Hub is a refrigerator first, so you’d expect a good deal of the cool features to revolve around food or food management of some kind. Samsung partnered with online grocery services Instacart and Groceries by Mastercard to allow users to order food right from the refrigerator itself, and a grocery list app to keep track of what you need that could be sent to these services. It doesn’t much easier than that.
Food spoilage is another problem that Samsung wants to address, and the Family Hub can be programmed to keep track of perishable foods and warn you when certain items are approaching their expiration date. Another app takes care of managing the temperature of your refrigerator and freezer, along with monitoring the status of the water filter of its on-board fresh water dispenser.
Any cooks in the family might find the Allrecipes app useful, and the Family Hub can even play back how-to videos from the site right on the screen, Samsung said.
Entertainment and web browsing
Entertainment is also a focus of the TV. If you have a compatible Samsung Smart TV, you’ll be able to mirror the picture on that TV right on Family Hub’s own display, and Pandora has its own app as well. If you have Bluetooth speakers, Family Hub can connect to them, and play the audio of whatever’s on the TV right to those speakers, although it does have internal speakers of its own, so there are plenty of options.
Besides the food management and entertainment features, Samsung also will allow you to access the web via a full browser from the touch screen, and use the touch screen much like we use our refrigerators today. There are apps to create messages to post on the screen like the post-it notes we’ve used forever, and a photo gallery app that allows you to choose pictures to display on the screen when it’s not in use (maybe a picture of a report card?).
While the Family Hub is certainly quite an advanced refrigerator — if you have the money for it — it’s not the only area that Samsung is focusing on. The company also has a Wi-Fi connected stove and oven that allows you to monitor the status and control the stovetop remotely, as well as connected air purifiers, washers and dryers, robotic vacuums, and even a connected air conditioner.
All of these new connected devices should be available at most major retailers by the end of the year, the company said.
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