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Appliances

LG brings HomeChat to life

Want to chat with your refrigerator? Thanks to LG, now you can.

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If you've ever left the house only to realize that you forgot to start that load of laundry, you're not alone. That's why LG has been working on HomeChat, a service designed to help you monitor and communicate with your large appliances via text message. We reported on HomeChat at CES earlier this year, but now it's a reality -- LG just launched three HomeChat-connected large appliances in Korea.

The LG Smart Refrigerator is equipped with a built-in wide-angle camera located at the top of the inside compartment. According to LG, the camera can "see" what's in your fridge from the top on down to the bottom. That way, you should be able to "check in" with your fridge and find out if you're out of milk -- even when you're already at the store.

The fridge is also equipped with a Smart Manager, a Freshness Tracker, and a Health Manager. They work together to help you track inventory and food freshness, and even eat better. Input your age, sex, weight, and height into the fridge, and it will spit out your body mass index along with customized meal plans.

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LG

LG's Smart Washing Machine is also equipped with HomeChat capabilities. You can text "start washing cycle" and "what are you doing" to initiate a cycle and then track its progress. The status updates you receive are designed to be in real-time. If you hate letting your clothes sit in the washer for too long, these progress updates could come in handy.

You can ask LG's Smart Lightwave Oven, "what dish would you like to make today?" and it will automatically open up a recipe search. When it's time to cook, the oven will set its temperature and cooking time for the specific meal you selected. You can also receive notifications when new recipes are available.

This isn't the first connected appliance line for the brand. LG's existing Smart ThinQ range , refrigerator , and washer / dryer all connect to different apps with different designs and different levels of utility. Dacor , Whirlpool, Samsung , and GE also offer large-appliance app connectivity, but none of them work via SMS. So, HomeChat really is the first large-appliance brand we've seen take smart home capability to text-based communication.

The novelty factor combined with the popular Line chat service it operates through might just help LG create a more efficient and cohesive set of smart appliances -- particularly where Line users are active. As for HomeChat making it big in the US? That remains to be seen.

For now, though, these products are available only in Korea. LG does plan to expand its HomeChat-enabled fridge, washer, and oven to the other places, including the United States, but there's no word yet on when or how much each appliance will cost.