Last year, Samsung embedded a giant tablet in the front of a fridge and called the fridge smart. People kind of bought it, and there was much hype. This year Samsung is hoping that some software updates to that fridge tech will set it apart. But it won't. Instead, the Samsung smart fridge must suffer. Because LG one-upped Samsung and made Windows and Android refrigerators.
The Smart Instaview Refrigerator from LG is the first smart fridge the company has made, and it's gone above and beyond, building two separate versions: One with Alexa voice control and an Android OS, and one with Cortana voice control and Windows 10. We poked around on the Windows one and learned that it appears to be running an Intel Atom processor.
Because they run very different operating systems the performance is different between the two refrigerators. The Android one is more responsive when moving objects around on the translucent display or quickly writing a note. The Windows one has some definite lag, but was actually faster to respond when doing long press gestures on the display.
Despite some noticeable differences in responsiveness, the appearance of the primary screen for each display is remarkably similar. It's a virtual white board that lets you throw up reminder stickers, expiration dates for products inside, notes and timers that count down in real time.
LG has also promised the ability to simply knock on the display to quickly access screens and apps that you might frequently use. The ones programmed into the samples at the CES booth popped up the weather — on the rare occasion they could work.
When you're not interacting with the display it's intended to go completely black, but you can also set it to be translucent so you can see inside and be shamed by the reminder that you own four tubs of ice cream (never be shamed by this). There are also cameras inside so you can — again, when the software works — quickly see what's in the fridge without opening it.
LG told Gizmodo it expects to have the sluggish bugs worked out by the time the fridge launches later this year, but there's currently no word on pricing or availability for the product.
We're on the ground at CES 2017 in Las Vegas! Follow all of our coverage of the latest and greatest in tech here.