LAS VEGAS -- GE just threw its weight behind the promise of the smart home in a big way. Timed to coincide with CES 2015, the company unveiled plans for a new suite of high-end household appliances that will all link to smartphones and tablets via mobile apps. With this fancy Internet connection, GE claims users will be able to perform a wide range of slick tricks like receiving alerts for when the laundry is ready, the bread is baked, or the status of the dishwasher and refrigerator.
While most of the products GE specifically called out as part of its major smart appliance push belong to its premier Profile line, they practically run the entire home gamut. For instance, a French-door, bottom-freezer refrigerator will talk to the GE mobile app to provide info like whether the ice tray is full or if the water filter needs to be changed. The machine will give you a heads-up in the event of a power outage and if internal temperatures exceeds a safety zone as a result. GE expects this connected fridge to hit showrooms in April 2015.
A washer-and-dryer combo that GE calls the Laundry pair sounds more like a clothes cleaning robot than what traditional homes are used to. Through the mobile app, the pair is designed to send helpful alerts in real time such as ideal times to remove items from the dryer and how long until the wash/dry cycles complete. The appliance also sports an automatic soap reservoir, termed SmartDispense, so you won't have to fuss with messy bottles, jugs and powders every time you throw in a load. GE plans to ship the Laundry pair in May 2015.
GE has a smart dishwasher in the works, too, which supposedly has the brains to detect any issues during the wash cycle. For example, the machine will sense if a physical object, such as a saute pan handle, pair of tongs or spatula, obstructs any of its internal cleaning systems during operation. GE says the appliance can also tell if there are any clogs or leaks hampering its cleaning program. You'll have to wait a little bit longer for this product to grace store floors, however, since GE expects it to ship sometime in late 2015.
Another appliance that GE plans to bring into its fold of connected products is something you may not imagine as high-tech at all, the lowly home water heater. Yes, the appliance maker will retrofit its existing 50-gallon GeoSpring water heater with a Wi-Fi and mobile app connection. It will also sell a new 80-gallon version of the GeoSpring with smart features as well. Both pieces of hardware should ship in February 2015.
Interestingly, GE's current line ofand wall ovens will enjoy compatibility with the company's fresh mobile applications and smart-home platform. What's unclear, though, is whether these cooktops and high-end bakers will still use the Brillion app or will ditch it all together for GE's upcoming mobile software.