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| Electronics and Appliances

01/25/15

Tech support: Do your appliances really need to be smart?

More than 50% of the population owns a smart phone, with the total number of people who own a cell phone hovering well above the 90% mark. From tablets to gadgets anything else that has been dubbed "smart," the masses tend to clamor for whatever makes life easier.
Now that "smart" mentality has crossed over from our pockets, purses and briefcases directly into our kitchen, more specifically the propensity to put plenty of stock in appliances that go above and beyond the rudimentary fridge, stove, dishwasher and even cookware and washers and dryers.
So you may be asking yourself, how exactly do appliances transform from simple to smart if the idea and practicality behind them is the same? Quite simply at first glance, the additions to appliances seem more like a stretch than real convenience personified.
Like the so called "smart" stoves, with a top that doesn't include traditional burners or buttons but rather swipe technology as if your range has suddenly adopted the traits of your iPhone. Your fridge doesn't just keep food cold or frozen, but now can include a digital display on the door to give you updates on how well (or not) your appliances is working, including the temperature.
Granted, there are some practical features to these futuristic appliances but ironically are simple fixes to problems that could have been corrected before the term "smart" meant that you've added technology to a particular product.

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Case in point, some new appliances have been designed to fit into smaller spaces than normal or a fridge that now comes with, imagine this, wheels on the bottom that lock into place, just in case you want to move it without throwing out your back.
Some also would argue that these appliances save you a ton since they've also been labeled as both "smart" and "energy efficient" as it relates to using electric, gas and water. That said, the once major drawback to going from drab to fab pertaining to appliances is the sticker shock you'll undoubtedly have when you have to buy a washer for $2,000 or a fridge that is $3,000. All the promises of digital displays and fitting into tight spots isn't going to be enough for the average consumers to move away from those same appliances that easily cost 50% less.
The coolness and hip factor of having the latest and greatest doesn't apply all that well to appliances in the same way it does to phones or tablets. As much as consumers will buy the newest Galaxy phone or iPad, they haven't developed that sense of commercialism for any and all things kitchen related, but rather assume a stove is a stove as long as it cooks and heats food.
Until that mindset becomes history, buying a smart appliances still feels rather dumb.

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