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Smart Home

Blendtec Connect adds Bluetooth smarts into the mix

Yep, it'll blend -- and now it has an app, too.

CHICAGO -- Blendtec unveiled its new Connect Food Preparation System today here at the International Home and Housewares Show. The system syncs a blender, mixer and scale with a free smartphone app over Bluetooth. Select from one of the app's hundreds of recipes, and the system will tailor the cooking process to your needs and walk you through the preparation step by step.

Lest you think these are smarts for smarts' sake, Blendtec insists that the goal is to make it easier for you to prepare and cook great food. Blendtec founder and star of the popular "Will it Blend?" videos Tom Dickson claims that most of the connected kitchen gadgets already on the market don't actually make people into better, more productive cooks.

"Our vision with Blendtec Connect is to combine online connectivity with our advanced appliance engineering to make cooking simpler, faster and smarter than ever before," Dickson said.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

To that end, Blendtec Connect claims to eliminate the need for measuring spoons and cups by automatically sensing ingredient quantities on the smart scale -- similar to the way well-reviewed products like Drop and Perfect Bake work. The app can also customize its recipes based on how many servings you want to make or how much of a specific ingredient you've got in your pantry. From there, it can send recipe-specific settings and cycles straight to each appliance.

We've been impressed with the sheer power of Blendtec blenders in the past , though we ran into some pretty significant problems with the Blendtec Designer 725 , which shredded the rubber gaskets on the bottom of its WildSide jars. Though specs aren't available yet, Blendtec's team tells us that the new connected model is a "725c," and in the promo pictures, it looks to come with the same WildSide jar as the 725.

Blendtec's team claims that the problems I encountered with the 725 had to do with the jar's design and not with the blender itself. Blendtec told us that they had reached out to all 725 owners to address any concerns, though it's unclear if the jar's design has been tweaked. At any rate, I'll be eager to test it out and see if it behaves a little better in the test kitchen.

I'll also be interested to see if Blendtec Connect ultimately ends up integrating with any third-party products or services. A partnership with a product like the Anova Precision Cooker might make a lot of sense -- it also uses Bluetooth for smart cooking, and plans to release a software development kit (SDK). Integration with control systems like SmartThings , Wink , or Staples Connect might also be interesting. For now, Blendtec tells us that nothing specific is in the works.

Pricing and availability for the new Blendtec Connect appliances isn't locked down yet, though Blendtec tells us to expect a US release by the end of 2015, with expanded international availability to follow soon after.

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