Futuristic Fridges Take Center Stage at CES

Thanks to its oversized display panel, Samsung’s Bespoke four-door Flex model with Family Hub+ can double as an all-in-one communication and entertainment center.

LG, Samsung reimagine the kitchen with interactive iceboxes

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Thanks to two of its largest exhibitors and the advent of connected technologies, home appliances have assumed a greater presence at CES, arguably the world’s largest consumer tech trade show.

And last week in Las Vegas, where the uber event is held each January, LG and Samsung didn’t disappoint.

LG’s color-changing MoodUP fridge can be controlled remotely via the company’s ThinQ mobile app.

Sharing the spotlight with the vendors’ expansive product introductions were a pair of cutting-edge refrigerators that were clearly designed to dazzle. LG’s entrée, MoodUP, is a color-changing fridge that offers 23 color options and, with the four-door French-door model, more than 190,000 possible color combinations thanks to their LED-embedded panels.

First shown last fall at IFA 2022 in Berlin, the fridge, an extension of LG’s InstaView line, allows owners to enliven their kitchens or change the mood using the company’s ThinQ mobile app, sparing them the cost and inconvenience of replacing door panels. An additional tone, “Viva Magenta,” the Pantone Color Institute’s Color of the Year, was announced at last week’s show, although owners also have the option of turning off the LEDs and reverting to the default colors of “Lux Gray” and “Lux White.”

“The refrigerator with MoodUP epitomizes the convenience and customizability of LG’s innovative ThinQ UP appliances,” said Lyu Jae-cheol, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solution Company. “We will continue to develop advanced lifestyle solutions offering differentiated customer experiences and unprecedented upgradability.”

Not to be outdone, Samsung has enlarged the video display found on past Family Hub refrigerators for its new Bespoke four-door Flex model with Family Hub+. The latest screen is a 32-inch, bezel-less FHD panel that is nearly twice the size of previous models, furthering Samsung’s vision of the refrigerator as an all-in-one communication and entertainment hub.

To that end, new Family Hub software includes Google Photos integration, which turns the fridge into a giant digital photo frame, plus an expansion of Samsung TV Plus to more than 190 free channels. “Thanks to the larger screen space and Samsung TV Plus’s new picture-in-picture (PIP) feature, users can catch up on their favorite TV shows while checking and monitoring the status of other kitchen appliances while keeping an eye on what they are cooking at the same time,” the company said.

The snazzy new fridge is set to launch in the U.S. within the next six months, while current Family Hub owners can expect to receive an over-the-air software update later this year.

“Our goal is to maximize the freedom customers have to pursue personalization and productivity in their kitchens,” said Junhwa Lee, executive VP and head of the Customer Experience Team of the Digital Appliances Business at Samsung Electronics. “These latest features and products go beyond simply helping users in the kitchen and allow them to truly express themselves through the power of customization for more enjoyable experiences.”

Elsewhere at CES, GE Appliances snagged some limelight of its own with its GE Profile Smart Mixer with Auto Sense, which was named a CES Innovations Awards Honoree by an elite panel of industry expert judges. The product features a built-in smart scale to precisely weigh ingredients directly in the mixing bowl, while its Auto Sense technology actively monitors changes in texture and viscosity through motor torque feedback to optimize performance.

“We are thrilled to be in Las Vegas this year to introduce the GE Profile Smart Mixer with Auto Sense to the public,” said Andre Zdanow, executive director of small appliances for GE Appliances. “Inclusion amongst this year’s honorees reinforces GE Profile’s commitment to designing innovative kitchen solutions that meet the needs of consumers, to make daily life efficient and maximize their time doing more of what they love.”

The mixer will initially launch at Crate & Barrel and carry a suggested retail price of $999.

Whirlpool, which had long maintained a presence at CES, sat out this year’s show.

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