We've seen no shortage of pie-in-the-sky coffee contraptions, but a collaborative effort from GE and Keurig might take the cake. It's an enormous appliance simply called "The Beverage Center" -- break out the sledgehammer and install it in your kitchen wall, and you'll be able to brew up pod-based coffee and soda, or even whip up a quick smoothie using the built-in blender.
At least, that's the idea. This is a concept appliance built in GE's test lab, and there's apparently only a single prototype in existence.
"We know that cooking is a big part of making a meal, and we have appliances that do this very well. But creating beverages is also part of the dining experience," GE Appliance's Manager of Concept and Brand Development, Chris Bissig, told Tech Insider. "We wanted to stretch beverage creation to imagine a standalone appliance that could do much more."
It wouldn't be the first in-wall coffee maker we've seen. A semi-similar mega-maker from Wolf Appliances debuted about two years ago. The cost? Well over $3,000 -- and it didn't even have the built-in blender.
There's no plan to make more Beverage Centers just yet (and no word on how much each one would cost), but Bissig wouldn't rule it out. If it happens, my guess is that GE would try a fairly limited run aimed at corporate clients and office kitchens before ever trying to sell this thing to the masses.
It's also worth noting that Keurig Kold, the company's effort to recapture the K-Cup magic with a pod-based soda maker, was a colossal flop -- enough so that Keurig ultimately pulled the plug and offered customers full refunds. As for the pods themselves, a Keurig spokesperson tells me, "we are not producing any more Kold pods, but plan to continue to sell our existing Kold pod inventory at a discounted price on Keurig.com while supplies last."
Caveats aside, it's still nice to see appliance makers experiment with off-the-wall ideas (or in this case, an in-the-wall idea), even and perhaps especially when those ideas hearken back to the nonsensical futurism that geeks like myself grew up with. "Spaceballs," anyone?