Samsung held an event to officially launch its Family Hub smart fridge which has a giant 1080p touchscreen attached to this refrigerator — and it’s just as ridiculous as you might imagine.
It does all the fridge things you’d expect — “Custom cooling” with a “Triple Cooling System” with an ice maker and custom zones and whatever else. There’s a “Flex Zone” that you can set to either be a freezer or a wine fridge. But you’re not here to learn about fridge tech, you’re here for tech on a fridge. And Samsung knows how to slap tech on to things better than anybody.
It uses the Tizen operating system, which means a few things. First off, Samsung isn’t letting users install third-party apps yet, instead sticking to a bunch of apps and widgets that are preloaded. Secondly, it means that this large touchscreen mostly acts like a gigantic phone on your fridge.
The apps are a little slow to load and web pages that you load up appear in a phone layout. There are even Tizen-standard phone-style buttons at the bottom, including Home, Menu, Back, and a button to bring up a notifications panel. You rearrange the home screen widgets with a long-press and tap them to open their apps.
The biggest fridge-style you’ll care about is “Groceries by Mastercard,” which lets you shop from Fresh Direct or Shop Rite directly from the door, so they can deliver those groceries to you. It works, well, like a huge phone app — and conveniently enough it syncs to a companion app on your phone.
There’s an app for doodling notes (the touchscreen response is pretty bad), an app for your family calendar, weather, a timer, an app to control fridge-things like the alarm and temperature zones, and so on. There is also voice control and WiFi.
The coolest feature is TV mirroring. There’s an app that will mirror (and offer basic controls) for a Samsung TV that’s on the same Wi-Fi network. If that’s not your idea of fun, you can also play Pandora or TuneIn radio on the door-embedded speakers.
Last but certainly not least, my favorite ridiculous feature: there are three cameras that take a photo of the inside of the fridge about 10 seconds after you close the door. That means that, yes, you can hit a button on the touchscreen to look inside your fridge so you don’t have to look inside your fridge! Of course, that’s not the intended use: you can assign expiration reminders to specific items and also look at the photo from your smartphone when you’re at the grocery store.
The photo feature is just like the fridge itself: silly, but kind of clever. It’s the kind of feature (and the kind of fridge) you’d create if you had zero inhibitions and would never be embarrassed by technological whimsy.
It is, therefore, the essence of Samsung. The Family Hub fridge starts at $5,799.