Ah, the refrigerator: lifeblood of the kitchen. At last year’s CES, Samsung decided that big box you use to store leftovers and hunks of American cheese needed a modern upgrade by way of its touch-screen and Wi-Fi-enabled Family Hub refrigerator.
This year, the company is back with its Family Hub 2.0 line of fridge and in addition to new apps like Spotify the humble rectangle that keeps your probiotic yogurt fresh is also getting voice-recognition capabilities.
That’s right. Now you can talk to your refrigerator without alarming your family members.
Family Hub 2.0, which will be available on four different Samsung refrigerator models, features a new interface that’s more akin to Samsung’s smartphones. You can rearrange app widgets, organize your screen to your liking and add compatible apps at your leisure.
The biggest update to Family Hub 2.0 is the inclusion of Samsung’s S Voice voice recognition technology. Similar to the S Voice app on Samsung’s Galaxy S7 handset, S Voice for Family Hub 2.0 lets you ask your fridge if it’s going to rain, tell it to play music, add something to your shopping list and check your agenda.
Samsung says it’s also working on a feature that lets you make purchases with your voice. Currently Family Hub lets you add items from your shopping list to an e-commerce app where you can purchase them and have them delivered to your home.
Unfortunately, Family Hub won’t connect with smart home devices like Amazon’s popular Echo or Google Home. And while I like the idea of being able to add groceries to my grocery shopping list on Family Hub with my phone, I can do the same thing with Alexa and order directly through Amazon.
Beyond voice recognition, Family Hub 2.0 is bringing back the original Family Hub’s built-in camera so you can see what you’ve got inside your fridge.
For its second-generation smart refrigerator, Samsung is also adding a slew of new apps to including Spotify, iHeartRadio, YouTube and GrubHub. Those are in addition to existing apps like Pandora, TuneIn and the fridge’s built-in web browser.
Then there is the updated Family Hub calendar that allows you to set avatars for each of your family members to make checking your schedules more intuitive.
Naturally, Family Hub 2.0 fridges will do normal refrigerator things like keep your food cool and, in some cases, even freeze it!
I kid, but, in reality, the Family Hub 2.0 is a natural extension of our connected lives. Adding a touch screen and calendar to our refrigerators is just a way of digitizing our old magnetic calendars. Except now we can buy groceries, get the weather, browse the web and sync them with our smartphones to get a better idea of where our family members are during the day.
And being able to blast Sisqó’s “Thong Song” while making a ham sandwich isn’t all that bad, either.