Why Today’s Smart Fridge Is Pretty Dumb

At this year’s CES, it seemed that everything will have a sensor from your dog to your toothbrush. Some of these smart devices provide utility while some…do not. At the top of the list is the Samsung Smart Fridge which could be an amazing innovation when connectivity actually enhances the core product- a unit which stores and refrigerates your food. What we’re actually left with is a refrigerator that can handle a number of functions from answering a call to listening to music, all of which is better suited for other devices.

Touted as perhaps one of the more innovative ways of bringing Internet into the home, it very quickly became apparent that the fridge was made more for the buzz-worthiness of IoT rather than any practical application. The premise is simple: utilize the Internet to give parents and families the best of the Internet on their fridge. And it does deliver on that promise in some ways; the app interface gives users access to Epicurious – which lets users choose recipes based on items in their fridge – and Evernote – which updates shopping lists in real time. But beyond that, the app interface falls flat. It purports to give users music, the news, the weather, and more, via apps like Pandora, AP, and Weatherbug, through what appears to be a familiar tablet interface. Ultimately, the design has resulted in Samsung trying to cram too much tech into too small a space, none of which enhances the basic function of a fridge. Why would someone with the money to buy and install a smart fridge not just play music over speakers, or check the weather on their computer or phone? 

What’s really missing are things like sensor technology to detect the contents of your fridge or when something smells off as well as remote access to see what you have available. Remember when you’re at a store and forgot if you already had milk.  Problem solved. These are real enhancements made through connectivity.