Refrigerators and rice cookers running Android? Yes, really

Yes you read that correctly: Android is being baked into rice cookers and refrigerators, including LG's new Smart Thinq model. This allows these devices to easily connect to the internet and with each other, as well as allowing Google and the manufacturers to collect useful data which could benefit them in the making of future products. 

Speaking to Bloomberg, IDC analyst Al Hilwa said,

Android is sitting pretty in this space to take more share from the incumbents. The fundamental advantage with Android is that the vendor can take a bigger chunk of the software and own it.

Various other products running Android are also being shown off at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, including a Pocket Projector from Royal Philips Electronics and Samsung's 16-megapixel Galaxy Camera which can run most Android applications and features mobile data connectivity, a much easier thing to do thanks to the free use of Android manufacturers have.

The spreading of Android to more hardware products could benefit Google due to the promotion of its various applications and services that are built into Android itself. Users may also be much more likely to want or stay with Android smartphones and tablets if they can control other hardware with them. We wouldn't be surprised if we see more appliances such as washing machines and ovens running Android in the future.

Source: Bloomberg | Image via Sammobile

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63 Comments

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would be cool if the display can scan your whole frige and tell you what you have in the frige from your phone so you can buy the one you miss.

Wait... Wasn't this exact same thing announced last year. Like, the exact same thing, from LG, if I recall. I know it was, and I read it here.

So... this is not new, at all.

I believe what you read was a Washing Machine and Dryer. It alerted you when your cloths were done. Not exactly a feature that is a must have.

I like the idea of automated & connected. Wifi thermostats are smart for example. I like the idea of scanning a barcode as you put things in your cupboard/fridge and then again when you consume it. I actually do it. a simple web app running on a raspberry pi that takes barcodes from my barcode scanner app and adds them to a database I can email for answers... PITA to build a sku database for the skus around my area.

Actually its not that cool. its a spreadsheet I update on my server. but it works.

"This allows these devices to easily connect to the internet and with each other, as well as allowing Google and the manufacturers to collect useful data which could benefit them in the making of future products. "

AKA, collect what food you eat to push you more ads.

Dot Matrix said,
"This allows these devices to easily connect to the internet and with each other, as well as allowing Google and the manufacturers to collect useful data which could benefit them in the making of future products. "

AKA, collect what food you eat to push you more ads.

I was thinking more along the lines of partnering with some food companies to sell them data about what's in people fridges.

Dot Matrix said,
AKA, collect what food you eat to push you more ads.

Why are Ads a bad thing? I tell anybody that buys an Kindle Fire not to pay extra to disable the Home screen Ads. You are getting ads based on what you use/buy right?

So if my refrigerator knows I live and what food I have in it, wouldn't the ads just tell me there is a sale on Milk today in Pathmark? Isn't this better for me?


This allows these devices to easily connect to the internet and with each other, as well as allowing Google and the manufacturers to collect useful data which could benefit them in the making of future products.

So its basically not for the consumer, just another way for companies to make more money from you and your data.

Oh my god. The company knows I like Milk and may deliver ads to my fridge telling me there is a sale on milk in my neighborhood local dairy store.

How dare those evil ******* do this?

It's not about that at all. Your tiny view of this is just filled with loyalty to one company causing you to hate another.

I kinda like the fridge idea. Microsoft started this homes of the future idea. It would be nice if you had a family and knew when you were running out of Milk, Eggs, and Juice before you make it home from work only having to go out first.

Connected appliances is still in it's infancy. I would love to see it mature. I would also love to see you mature.

PmRd said,
Yay! Now I can get unwanted ads from my fridge!

Why, because Android is from Google? There aren't any ads anywhere in Android, only and strictly only in third-party apps.

Ambroos said,

Why, because Android is from Google? There aren't any ads anywhere in Android, only and strictly only in third-party apps.

Yeah I know it's from third-party apps but the problem is the ads are not restricted to the app itself. You can get them in your notifications and it's really ****ing annoying.

Anyway, I was just trollin' a bit.

PmRd said,

Yeah I know it's from third-party apps but the problem is the ads are not restricted to the app itself. You can get them in your notifications and it's really ****ing annoying.

Anyway, I was just trollin' a bit.

Never got ads in notifications...or are you kidding?

techbeck said,

Never got ads in notifications...or are you kidding?

I most certainly am not. You must not download lots of apps. And before you say "I'm careful with the apps I download" remember that's not the case for mr. normal user.

PmRd said,

I most certainly am not. You must not download lots of apps. And before you say "I'm careful with the apps I download" remember that's not the case for mr. normal user.

I download a ton of apps, tho I disable notifications on many of them cept for text messages, email, and reminders.

Any apps you remember off the top of your head that displays ads in notifications?

techbeck said,

Any apps you remember off the top of your head that displays ads in notifications?

Zynga poker I think

PmRd said,

Yeah I know it's from third-party apps but the problem is the ads are not restricted to the app itself. You can get them in your notifications and it's really ****ing annoying.

Anyway, I was just trollin' a bit.


Well I've been using Android with a ton of apps for almost two years now and have never had any app give me ads in notifications. And even if it does you just uninstall it?

The nice thing about Android is that as a developer you have an immense array of power. The possibilities are really big, inter-app communication and sharing is done in a way no other phone does. When I select a PDF in my file manager of choice it actually asks me what app I want to use to open it with.

Ambroos said,

Well I've been using Android with a ton of apps for almost two years now and have never had any app give me ads in notifications. And even if it does you just uninstall it?

The nice thing about Android is that as a developer you have an immense array of power. The possibilities are really big, inter-app communication and sharing is done in a way no other phone does. When I select a PDF in my file manager of choice it actually asks me what app I want to use to open it with.


WP can do the same. Sharing data between apps.
Oh and there is less chance for crap coming into the store.
Android is indeed filled with notification ads, I encountered them myself and I didn't download just random junk. And I constantly see people around me having ads all over the place.
That is an advantage for android to have allot of power as a developer, but its also one of its down sides. The average joe doesn't give a rats ass about what rights a program requests and accept it no matter what, especially considering most default apps require way to much to begin with anyways.

Shadowzz said,

Android is indeed filled with notification ads, I encountered them myself and I didn't download just random junk. And I constantly see people around me having ads all over the place.

Thank you for not pretending the problem doesn't exist!

PmRd said,

Thank you for not pretending the problem doesn't exist!


But you can just superglue a stripe on the bottom of the screen so you no longer see them!

francescob said,

But you can just superglue a stripe on the bottom of the screen so you no longer see them!

It's not the bottom of the screen, it's the notification center.

Actually many years ago MS shipped a version of WM, sorry I do not remember which one, that included, among others a program to run a domotized house. Of course by today standards it was quite "primitive" and it was not developed by MS itself. Unfortunately after a short while MS stopped to to ship it. Even the Mira project was supposed to have a software to control a house but that project as well was too far ahead and abandoned.

Rice just tastes better with a dash of angry bird.

Seriously though.. why does it need to have a display? Could just be using it as a platform to control whatever hardware, inter-device connectivity, all that jazz. Have a central console that controls all the stuff in your kitchen, program it for a recipe and let the kitchen handle the rest, etc. Kitchen of Tomorrow sort of thing.

Max Norris said,
Rice just tastes better with a dash of angry bird.

Seriously though.. why does it need to have a display? Could just be using it as a platform to control whatever hardware, inter-device connectivity, all that jazz. Have a central console that controls all the stuff in your kitchen, program it for a recipe and let the kitchen handle the rest, etc. Kitchen of Tomorrow sort of thing.


If the whole kitchen is setup this way and can be controlled from a central location, then it would be cool. But even without a display, why have android in a standalone rice cooker? Doesnt rice cookers work fine without all hte extra tech?

Years ago when Microsoft introduced WindowsCE they talked about refrigerators and other appliances being a computer. The example they talked about was that you wanted something for dinner, the refrigerator would send you a list of what is needed to be added to your shopping list. You would put some items in the oven, and it would know when to turn on to have dinner ready, and be able to sync with your calendar to know if you were going to be late and adjust accordingly.

Microsoft was mocked, heavily, for this.

Slap on a logo from some other company, and it is pure brilliance.

Max Norris said,
Rice just tastes better with a dash of angry bird.

Have a central console that controls all the stuff in your kitchen, program it for a recipe and let the kitchen handle the rest, etc. Kitchen of Tomorrow sort of thing.

Pretty pointless since you still have to physically put the rice inside the cooker. Unless they invent wireless rice.

nohone said,
Years ago when Microsoft introduced WindowsCE they talked about refrigerators and other appliances being a computer. The example they talked about was that you wanted something for dinner, the refrigerator would send you a list of what is needed to be added to your shopping list. You would put some items in the oven, and it would know when to turn on to have dinner ready, and be able to sync with your calendar to know if you were going to be late and adjust accordingly.

Microsoft was mocked, heavily, for this.

Slap on a logo from some other company, and it is pure brilliance.

This happens all the time. A lot has happened years ago and things have changed. So what was once mocked, later can be praised/accepted.

techbeck said,

This happens all the time. A lot has happened years ago and things have changed. So what was once mocked, later can be praised/accepted.

Why? What has changed in the past 10 years other than time? Microsoft was forward looking, planning ahead, showing us what could be. But a group of people, mostly because of the name that was on the product, tried their best to turn the market against it. UMPC (and before that TabletPCs) was mocked, and just less than a year later the iPad was the most brilliant development of all time. I remember using my Cassiopeia to browse Slashdot over a dialup 56K modem, where they had article after article saying that people don't want to use such a small keyboard. Now we use phones with even smaller keyboards.

People like to talk about how, because of the "Microsoft monopoly," we were set back years in tech advancement. How many tech items were created by Microsoft a decade or more ago, were laughed at, and now are the hottest technologies. Imagine how much more advanced we would be if these technologies were embraced at the time they were introduced, even if it was by another company.

You can't even want to read a book without a certain CEO telling you you didn't want to do that, only to introduce the supposedly greatest invention since the printing press a year later.

Poor Microsoft, eternal victim. We live in a mad world

nohone said,
Years ago when Microsoft introduced WindowsCE they talked about refrigerators and other appliances being a computer. The example they talked about was that you wanted something for dinner, the refrigerator would send you a list of what is needed to be added to your shopping list. You would put some items in the oven, and it would know when to turn on to have dinner ready, and be able to sync with your calendar to know if you were going to be late and adjust accordingly.

Microsoft was mocked, heavily, for this.

Slap on a logo from some other company, and it is pure brilliance.

nohone said,

Why? What has changed in the past 10 years other than time?

Technology wasnt as vast and accepted as it is now. That was my point. A lot has changed in the tech world in the last 10 years.

myxomatosis said,
Poor Microsoft, eternal victim. We live in a mad world


He isn't victimizing MS, he is victimizing us, the consumers.
Who are now years behind in tech developments because people hold much hatred to a particular brand name.
Almost all tech we have today is developed or influenced by MS. Yet it receives allot more hatred then it deserves. And time and time again something that gets introduced by them gets burned into the ground. But if many years later another company does it... its the bomb.

Shadowzz said,

He isn't victimizing MS, he is victimizing us, the consumers.
Who are now years behind in tech developments because people hold much hatred to a particular brand name.
Almost all tech we have today is developed or influenced by MS. Yet it receives allot more hatred then it deserves. And time and time again something that gets introduced by them gets burned into the ground. But if many years later another company does it... its the bomb.

This.

In response to mywhatever, I was just using this as an example since this is what the article is about. If we had accepted, rather than complain about every little thing, imagine where we would be now. Yes, the tech that Microsoft introduced years ago may be behind what Google is proposing now, but that is how all tech works. Cars today are more efficient than those of just 5 years ago, does that mean that we shouldn't have had cars until now because the perfect tech was not available 5 years ago? 5 years from now, car tech will be even better so does that mean we should not be making cars today? If the tech MS introduced 10 years ago was not attacked as foolish and it happened, then Google would be providing us with something even better than what they announced today in effort to beat the competition, they may have even had android earlier than when it was made available, since Google would have recognized a need to compete against WinCE in refrigerators.

This is not true: at the end of the'90s MS envisioned refrigerators and many other appliances that were supposed to be all connected. They had for years a so called "House of the future" which was completely domotized.
Using as example the refrigerator you were supposed to scan the bar code of each product and the appliance would have told you when you were running low on some product, when some other was close to the expiration date etc. . The reason I know about it is because I personally knew the person in charge of the project. Granted at the time wireless connections were not as common as nowadays but this would not be an insurmountable problem. Sadly,as it happened to many other brilliant and ahead of time, MS projects, the concept was never commercialized. Btw MS still has that house of the future in Redmond, it is regularly updated and used as a show case for new technologies.

I have been to Microsoft's house of the future in Redmond and have witnessed its marval.
As you stated, Fridges / cupboards used tags on the food so you knew what you had in the house and the expiration dates. You could get the kitchen to display recipes given what food was in the house.

PmRd said,

Pretty pointless since you still have to physically put the rice inside the cooker. Unless they invent wireless rice.


WiRice. Market it. I'll buy it.

nohone said,
Years ago when Microsoft introduced WindowsCE they talked about refrigerators and other appliances being a computer. The example they talked about was that you wanted something for dinner, the refrigerator would send you a list of what is needed to be added to your shopping list. You would put some items in the oven, and it would know when to turn on to have dinner ready, and be able to sync with your calendar to know if you were going to be late and adjust accordingly.

Microsoft was mocked, heavily, for this.

Slap on a logo from some other company, and it is pure brilliance.

Microsoft wasn't mocked because of the concept, they just bear the failing software stigma (and they will have to bear with it for the foreseable future not because of the inherent quality of the software but because that's what you're most likely to be using at work).

And then it so happens that it didn't turn into an actual commercial product. Had it done so it might have been a success, but it didn't.