Tech Industry

333-MHz Pentium II PC in fridge

If a Japanese start-up has its way, people will be able to get Internet access and keep perishables fresh with the same appliance.

If a Japanese start-up has its way, people will be able to get Internet access and keep perishables fresh with the same appliance.

Why you might desire this kind of device, however, is a whole other matter.

Japan's V Sync Technology is hoping to shake up the bland world of kitchen appliances by combining a 333-MHz Pentium II processor with a refrigerator. A prototype unit places a desktop PC with 128MB of memory and a 3.2GB hard disk drive on top of the refrigerator, according to a report in the online edition of Nikkei Business Publications.

The unit will offer a built-in touch screen in the door that could display Web pages using the Netscape Navigator browser. Voice recognition software could also be installed, although it's not clear if the refrigerator would be used to dissuade users from eating fattening foods.

"I could see someone going to [a store] and having to go to the stereo section to see a refrigerator," mused Bruce Kasrel, senior analyst with Forrester Research. A salesman would say "'Here's the Compaq refrigerator for $8,000.' That's pushing it a bit," although it might be popular in Japan, he noted.

In other news, Samsung said it has developed a "multimedia" TV that can hook to digital VCRs, computers, and other products via the "FireWire" high-speed interconnect technology. Samsung said the digital TV can exchange sound and picture data among various devices with the technology. Also, a Web browser has been incorporated into the TV for viewing Internet content.

IBM has begun marketing home networking products that will allow home owners to monitor energy consumption or turn security lights off and on.