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Smart Home

Samsung updates its Family Hub smart fridge at CES 2019

A new software update helps Bixby take the reins of the refrigerator's smart home operations.

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Justin Jaffe/CNET

Samsung announced new software for its smart refrigerator, the Family Hub, during its press conference at CES in Las Vegas. The upgrade features some new interface tweaks and puts more emphasis on the company's virtual assistant, Bixby. It doesn't seem to mark a serious departure form the original Family Hub, which debuted in 2015.

The Family Hub already has built-in Bixby controls, and the touchscreen on the fridge is basically a big Tizen device with an extremely limited number of apps. Samsung keeps updating the software with tweaks to the layout and the Bixby capabilities, but, so far, it's been mostly baby steps.

In addition to all of the standard features you'd find in a refrigerator, the Family Hub, through Bixby, can provide answers to questions and handle a bunch of kitchen-related tasks including searching for recipes. Bixby can also give family members a "morning brief" that includes both a verbal report and screen-based readout of the weather and news. The Family Hub also includes a "View Inside" feature that uses cameras to let you see what's inside your fridge remotely. New features will be available via an automatic update for most earlier Family Hub models.

This year, Samsung said Bixby will be embedded in its 2019 QLED and premium TVs, and other smart appliances like washers as well as air conditioners, mobile devices, AI speakers and more. 

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