Wi-Fi Refrigerator from Samsung

6/6/2011

We’ve been hearing a lot about connected appliances. In January, the Consumer Electronics Show was packed full of news about upcoming appliances that would feature Internet connections or the ability to communicate with your smartphone. While most of these products have yet to hit the market, one refrigerator can scratch your itch for a connected kitchen.

At CES, Samsung, www.samsung.com, announced the RF4289 refrigerator, a four-door French door model that also included a Wi-Fi connection. This refrigerator is now on the market, and you can order it online from retailers like Best Buy and Lowe’s.

The refrigerator features a Wi-Fi-enabled LCD touchscreen above the water and ice dispenser. The screen gives consumers access to a variety of apps that use the Wi-Fi connection to pull information about weather, recipes, your Google calendar, or the latest news headlines. In addition, consumers can use the screen to leave messages for family members or watch a slideshow of their photos.


The list price for the RF4289 is $3,499.99. That’s steeper than the price for nearly all Samsung’s other refrigerator models, so it will be interesting to see if people are willing to shell out for the connectivity features.

The response to Samsung’s Wi-Fi refrigerator could hold implications for the large number of connected appliances in development by white-goods manufacturers. The market has been forecast to take off significantly in the next few years, but that depends on consumers taking to the appliances.

A recent report from Cisco, www.cisco.com, calls out connected appliances as one of the categories of Internet-connected devices set to drive the surging demand for network bandwidth. Cisco says by 2015 there will be nearly 15 billion network-connected devices, which equates to more than two connections for each person on earth.

Will smart refrigerators make up a large number of those connections? Only time will tell, but consumers will need to know that $3,499 is buying them something of unique value, or else the price will need to be adjusted.





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