LAS VEGAS -- Who knew a washing machine would steal the show?
Smart-home devices were everywhere at CES, butwashing machine was the clear winner in overall household tech. Not every consumer sees the need for an internet-connected thermostat or garage opener, but any laundry-doing adult can relate to a second washing machine drawer for running small loads.
Samsung'soven is harder to comprehend at first glance, but we're excited for that one, too. Take a standard oven and add a removable internal shelf that turns it into a makeshift double-oven. . Now add a double-hinged oven door that lets you open only the top oven compartment when you have the shelf installed. Pretty smart, as is Samsung's with a handy sink compartment built into the top lid.
Raspberry Pi mini-computer built in to let you hack together your own functionality. GE demoed a USB-connected scale for the ChillHub that tells you how much milk you have left (dubbed the Milky Weigh, naturally)., , , and others had large appliances on display, too, among others. We're also intrigued by from its experimental FirstBuild appliance making shop. It's a fridge aimed at makers, complete with a set of USB ports and a
We shouldn't forget the small appliances, either. There weren't a ton of those here, but Anova's new, a new microwave from , and automated beer-making machine all made an impression. And of course it wouldn't be CES without .
On the smart home front, you couldn't turn around without hitting your head on a connected light bulb or some other household gadget equipped with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, Z-Wave, or some other wireless radio. We didn't see too many smart-home products with functions we hadn't seen before. The bigger story was how the various smart home platforms from, , , , , and are working to add more and more connected products to their networks. We even had a about it.
Also, there was. Of all the news from smart-home device makers officially present at CES 2015, Apple's coming HomeKit platform loomed over everything.
Apple didn't have a booth at CES, but its device partners put on a small show of force by unveiling. No one had a working demo that showed off HomeKit's coolest feature, adding Siri voice commands to the smart home, but the message was clear: when Apple officially turns HomeKit on later this year, it will do so with an entire neighborhood of smart-home devices that use it.
We're still learning about some of, and nothing is guaranteed at this early stage in the smart home's expansion. Apple pushing the concept forward with consumers will likely help every player in this space. We'll see exactly how Apple enters when the first round of HomeKit products launch this spring. Equally interesting will be watching how the other smart-home companies respond.