Samsung’s new Family Hub Refrigerator is… The Future?
Sometimes, there are products you don’t think you want until it’s out. People said this about the original iPhone and iPad, two devices which breathed life into two new categories of electronics by popularizing their use. Few companies have been able to achieve this category evolving product release.
Samsung has taken a lot of flak from Android enthusiasts over the years for producing software enhancements that many dub “gimmicky.” When we attended this year’s CES at Las Vegas and saw Samsung unveil its new Family Hub Refrigerator, we thought the features it would include would also count as gimmicky.
The future looks ridiculous, but also oddly convenient
We were wrong. Samsung’s Family Hub Refrigerator uses the power of the Internet of Things to transform the way you eat and shop with features you never knew you wanted, until you did. It’s odd. Really odd.
“We believe it’s time for an upgrade — to modernize the kitchen with the power of IoT”
Say Hello to Your New Kitchen
The beauty of truly innovative technological products is that they solve everyday problems in a manner that no other product has accomplished before it. With our ever growing world, we face more and more everyday problems that need to be solved with another new gadget. But there are some problems that have existed for decades that have yet to see a robust solution to them. Take grocery shopping, for example. It’s a routine chore that everyone goes through and relies heavily on your memory of your pantry and fridge.
In the age of surveillance, the camera in the fridge let’s you spy on your food
Your memory is rather unreliable, so it’s better to take a picture of your current stock before you head out to the store. However, this solution is crude and also depends on you remembering to even take a picture in the first place! Why not just install a camera in the fridge in the first place? Siemens released a fridge that does just that back in 2013, and LG followed suit in 2014. Innovation doesn’t stop there, however, so Samsung has taken refrigerators to a new level by directly integrating shopping into the fridge.
Say Goodbye to Shopping
In a partnership with MasterCard, Samsung has made it easier for users to shop by taking advantage of the new Groceries by MasterCard app. The integrated app allows you to shop directly from FreshDirect and ShopRite (with more to come thanks to MasterCard’s partnership with MyWebGrocer), and for your family to share, build, manage, and modify a shopping list. There is also a companion smartphone app that allows you to access and manage the same shopping list right at your fingertips.
You can even scan barcodes to add products to the shopping list when you’re on the go. For security, final checkout within the app must be made after inputting a 4 digit PIN, but the ease of use allows anyone in your family to maintain the stock in your fridge. Though the app is through MasterCard, it accepts any U.S. based payment systems.
“In a world where every device – from the phone to the refrigerator – is connected to the Internet, the ways in which consumers interact and transact with their favorite brands are changing” – Betty DeVita, Chief Commercial Officer, MasterCard Labs
Samsung’s Family Hub Invades Your Home
So there’s a huge 21.5″ 1080p LCD touchscreen on the front of the fridge. What a waste it would be if you could barely interact with it, right? Fortunately, Samsung did not waste the potential with a large screen on the front of its new fridge. Samsung has essentially bolted a huge tablet inside the top-right panel of the fridge. Although it’s not running Android, Samsung’s Family Hub does seem to have access to a good selection of apps (more than you would expect for a fridge, no less!)
“You can use it to share Instagram photos… for some odd reason”
You are sharing photos from your fridge! Some more practical uses involve streaming audio from your device to the fridge because it has speakers built into it or even watching TV right on your fridge by mirroring your TV screen (provided you have a Samsung smart TV, of course).
There’s a Catch, Right?
There’s a catch, alright, and it’s a huge one. This beast of a smart fridge will set you back a whopping $5,000. That’s certainly not a paltry sum just for a refrigerator, so you might wonder why we’re so excited about it. It’s because of the future innovations it’ll bring in the industry, this fridge is just the icing on the cake when it comes to the Internet of Things intersecting with your everyday life.
Samsung has made huge progress in showing us why the smart home is the future, but it still needs to convince us that we should invest now. Because let’s be honest, who needs to share Instagram pics from their fridge? And with only a limited selection of grocers (although, Samsung’s ability to broker deals with retailers shouldn’t be scoffed at considering how successful Samsung Pay has been) and a high initial price, the new Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator is a smart home enthusiast’s wet dream that will have to wait some time before it becomes reality. But who knows, your descendants might take it for granted.