Useful connected oven app from Electrolux supports an internal oven camera

This app is useful on its own now, but with a concept feature on display at IFA 2014, you might never again have to open your oven door to check on food while it's cooking.

Rich Brown Former Senior Editorial Director - Home and Wellness
Rich was the editorial lead for CNET's Home and Wellness sections, based in Louisville, Kentucky. Before moving to Louisville in 2013, Rich ran CNET's desktop computer review section for 10 years in New York City. He has worked as a tech journalist since 1994, covering everything from 3D printing to Z-Wave smart locks.
Expertise Smart home, Windows PCs, cooking (sometimes), woodworking tools (getting there...)
Rich Brown
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Colin West McDonald/CNET

Along with news that it's joining the growing AllSeen Alliance consortium to help standardize the smart home, Electrodux demonstrated a compelling take on how it might bring that connectedness to its ovens in the near future. New connected features in its Let's Taste iOS and Android app will let you control a for now Germany-only CombiSteam oven remotely. A concept oven interior-mounted camera whose feed you can view directly from the app suggests where Electrolux might take its connected device efforts down the road.

Let's Taste oven app from Electrolux's German AEG brand (pictures)

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Electrolux is certainly not the first appliance maker with a cooking app. Virtually every other major manufacturer has one, and they've mostly felt like the first-generation products they are. Remote preheating and temperature controls make sense, but looking up recipes and building shopping lists from an oven app usually feels more cumbersome than convenient.

Let's Taste has those features, wrapped in a clean interface (which certainly helps), but somehow they feel more intuitive here. The app also takes things further.

The food pairing feature in Let's Taste helps you plan a menu. Colin West McDonald/CNET

A food pairing feature, for example, will display a handy intuitive web of ingredients that go well together. It's one of the few connected-appliance app features I've seen that I can imagine relying on regularly. The oven information screen also looks semiuseful, with well-presented data on power consumption, time between oven cleanings, and how often you've used certain cooking modes.

As much as I'm glad to see Electrolux pushing these new features to make its app feel worth using, the camera concept indicates a worthwhile future step. By using Let's Taste to watch the feed from an internal oven camera, you can check on food while it's cooking without having to open the oven door. Not only will this save you from having to actually be in the kitchen to keep an eye on dinner, but it will also spare your food the heat loss and potential uneven cooking that comes with repeated door opening.

The oven diagnostic screen in Let's Taste actually looks useful. Colin West McDonald/CNET

You can also share images from your video feed via assorted social networks. Of course.

The camera concept is two to three years away from shipping. Also to be determined are the exact oven it would appear in, and in which markets. The high-end CombiSteam oven used to demonstrate Let's Taste is a German-market only product. Electrolux says it plans to bring the oven to the US and elsewhere, but when, and with what features are still up in the air.

The camera feed to the app from inside the oven is an exciting concept. Colin West McDonald/CNET

Even for the German market there's some question with the camera. The door on the German unit is designed to come off completely for easy cleaning and maintenance. That makes it hard to power the camera, which is mounted on the door's interior. An Electrolux spokesperson told us it's exploring wireless camera power as a solution.