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Samsung cooks up Net microwave

For those who want to experience the networked home now, Samsung has developed the first-ever "intelligent" microwave.

For those who want to experience the networked home now, Samsung has developed the first-ever "intelligent" microwave, complete with Internet connection.

The microwave, which brings new meaning to the term "Internet appliance," purports to save customers time by integrating a bar code scanner directly into the microwave. This scanner adjusts the heat and time to pre-set levels determined by the manufacturer, or communicates with the company's Web site to determine the optimum cooking time.

Although home networking is one of the hottest and fastest growing areas among consumer electronics and PC makers alike, little progress has been made in integrating the microwave ovens into the information superhighway until now.

"The intelligent microwave oven is one of the most exciting developments in home appliance technology in a long time," said Dennis Joyner, Samsung's marketing manager for microwave ovens and room air conditioners, in a statement.

Samsung demonstrated the microwave at the International Housewares Show in Chicago this week, along with a new portable microwave, which "provides a solution to the complex technological problem of microwave convenience on the go," according to a Samsung statement.

The portable microwave can be used in trucks, minivans, campers, and boats, as well as sports utility vehicles.

Samsung could not be reached for comment. It is unclear how the company will address the potential problems presented by this particular brand of convergence, including whether there are any safeguards in place to prevent slow Internet connections from resulting in burned food.