LG last year announced an interesting new service that lets customers chat with their home appliances using their smartphone, and now its first range of ‘smart’ appliances that include the HomeChat service are available to buy.
Initially available in LG’s home market of Korea only, the range include a fridge with a camera, a washing machine that responds to chat messages, and a microwave/oven with NFC and WiFi baked in.
Quirky? Yes. Useful? Maybe. The fridge camera can send photos of its contents back to you so you know what items you need to buy when you’re out shopping. The washing machine can be remotely activated so that loads are finished before you get home from work. While the microwave/oven includes recipe suggestions, and will tell you what ingredients are necessary for specific dishes — not to mention that it will auto-select the appropriate settings.
In each case, the appliance is activated and controlled using chat sessions on Line, the popular messaging app with over 400 million registered users. LG says that HomeChat “makes communicating with LG’s smart refrigerator, washing machine or oven much like chatting with a close friend” — it’s certainly unique.
The chat service includes a Quick Button that pulls up commonly-used features for each appliance, and there are three different modes to help you use your appliances while you are on vacation, away or returning home. Line wouldn’t be Line without stickers — HomeChat doesn’t disappoint on that front, offering 40 stickers to add “an enjoyable and personal component” to interactions with your home appliances.
LG says that it is planning to introduce these chatty appliances in other countries, including the US, but there’s no timeframe for when that might happen.