Some of us may recall Microsoft‘s initiative a decade ago when it talked about embedding Windows CE in home appliances, about refrigerators and other appliances being a computer.
The example they talked about was that you wanted something for dinner, the refrigerator would send you a list of what is needed to be added to your shopping list. You would put some items in the oven, and it would know when to turn on to have dinner ready, and be able to sync with your calendar to know if you were going to be late and adjust accordingly. — Microsoft was mocked, heavily, for this and the idea fell off, being waved as unfeasible by manufacturers. They had for years a so called “House of the future” which was completely domotized in the end.
Ten years, it’s the time it took for everything. Windows CE was long forgotten in the abyss of time and the arena had been turned in an ‘Android Land’ where every manufacturer battled to produce the best devices. – Not just smartphones but a variety of electronic appliances ranging from convertibles like the Asus Transformer to fully fledged cameras like the well known Galaxy Camera.
Speaking to Bloomberg, IDC analyst Al Hilwa said,
Android is sitting pretty in this space to take more share from the incumbents. The fundamental advantage with Android is that the vendor can take a bigger chunk of the software and own it.
This year at CES 2013 LG Electronics demoed their ‘futuristic’ smart home appliances running embedded versions of Android, that includes the LG Smart Refrigerator, a mainstream refrigerator having an LCD screen & featuring LG’s ‘Smart Manager’ which basically allows users to record and check food items stored along with their expiration dates, as well as getting recommended menus and recipes from the available ingredients based on personal profiles. All with the aid of a smartphone the user can easily input food item list by simply scanning the grocery receipts, or check for items that are almost running out when in the grocery store.
Next comes the LG Smart Washing Machine, a regular washing machine with features that gives an important overview of any washing cycle being performed by the machine, i.e updates on how your clothes are being processed, whether your clothes are being dried or washed.
The LG Smart Oven is another addition to their home appliances. For the most part it like a regular oven but is able to heck and change cooking settings via their Android smartphones. The oven can communicate with its smart refrigerator cousin for easy sending of recipe and automatic oven setting. It also comes with LG’s Infrared Grill technology, which helps it run more efficiently.
Their last embedded product is the LG Smart Vacuum Cleaner, featuring the ‘Smart Access’ feature allowing the user to start the cleaner remotely as well as to control it from a distance, all with a smartphone.
The Panasonic $600 Android-controlled SR-SX2 rice cooker is another embedded device which lets users search for recipes on their Android phones and then transmit them to the cooker. It also provides information such as how much electricity it has used.
This year might be the year of embedded home appliances, an intensively active year for Android, not only on Smartphones but in various other devices which make our life easier!