Samsung’s Family Hub is a digital butler trapped in a fridge
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You know the little man that turns the light on and off in your fridge? Well, Samsung gave him a promotion. Now he can order groceries, offer meal suggestions, and even let your family know if you’re running late.
Samsung just announced that its Family Hub refrigerator will feature integrations with popular grocery delivery service Instacart, Groceries by MasterCard, and the Allrecipes trove of more than 50,000 user-tested meals.
A shopping list app also syncs with a smartphone, so your family can add items from the fridge door’s 21.5-inch touchscreen, and you can see them when you’re at the store. Food reminders let users input expiration dates for frequently purchased items.
In addition, the Family Hub fridge can mirror content from a Samsung smart TV.
Rounding out the list of apps is AccuWeather, a web browser, a photo sharing service, and two calendar and note sharing services that sync with smartphones.
The Family Hub fridge isn’t without controversy. In fact, it was perhaps the most polarizing new product to debut at CES 2016—everyone from executives at rival companies to Las Vegas cab drivers had an opinion about it.
That’s mostly because the full-size RF28K9580SR retails for about $5,000, while the top-of-the-line Black Stainless counter-depth model (RF22K9581SG) sells for around $5,400. That’s about a $2,200 premium over the fridge it’s based on.
Consumers may also be wary of a fridge that only runs Samsung’s Tizen operating system. While Samsung promises more apps are on the way, developers will have to customize them for the fridge.
An option like the Invoxia Triby might not be as glamorous as a big-screen fridge, but it performs many of the same basic functions as the Family Hub for a fraction of the cost. Plus, it now works with Amazon Alexa.
While it’s exciting to see the refrigerator become the center of the smart home, we think sales of the Samsung Family Hub will likely be limited to well-heeled early adopters. For the rest of us, we can glimpse at the near future.
This article was updated on May 5, 2016 to remove a reference to Amazon Alexa. Samsung let us know that the fridge will not ship with Alexa integration.
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