Ah, the refrigerator: lifeblood of the kitchen. At last yearís CES, Samsung decided that big box you use to store leftovers and hunks of American cheese needed a modern upgrade by way of its touch-screen and Wi-Fi-enabled Family Hub refrigerator.
This year, the company is back with its Family Hub 2.0 line of fridge and in addition to new apps like Spotify the humble rectangle that keeps your probiotic yogurt fresh is also getting voice-recognition capabilities.
Thatís right. Now you can talk to your refrigerator without alarming your family members.
Family Hub 2.0, which will be available on four different Samsung refrigerator models, features a new interface thatís more akin to Samsungís smartphones. You can rearrange app widgets, organize your screen to your liking and add compatible apps at your leisure.
The biggest update to Family Hub 2.0 is the inclusion of Samsungís S Voice voice recognition technology. Similar to the S Voice app on Samsungís Galaxy S7 handset, S Voice for Family Hub 2.0 lets you ask your fridge if itís going to rain, tell it to play music, add something to your shopping list and check your agenda.
Samsung says itís also working on a feature that lets you make purchases with your voice. Currently Family Hub lets you add items from your shopping list to an e-commerce app where you can purchase them and have them delivered to your home.
Unfortunately, Family Hub wonít connect with smart home devices like Amazonís popular Echo or Google Home. And while I like the idea of being able to add groceries to my grocery shopping list on Family Hub with my phone, I can do the same thing with Alexa and order directly through Amazon.
Beyond voice recognition, Family Hub 2.0 is bringing back the original Family Hubís built-in camera so you can see what youíve got inside your fridge.
For its second-generation smart refrigerator, Samsung is also adding a slew of new apps to including Spotify, iHeartRadio, YouTube and GrubHub. Those are in addition to existing apps like Pandora, TuneIn and the fridgeís built-in web browser.
Then there is the updated Family Hub calendar that allows you to set avatars for each of your family members to make checking your schedules more intuitive.
Naturally, Family Hub 2.0 fridges will do normal refrigerator things like keep your food cool and, in some cases, even freeze it!
I kid, but, in reality, the Family Hub 2.0 is a natural extension of our connected lives. Adding a touch screen and calendar to our refrigerators is just a way of digitizing our old magnetic calendars. Except now we can buy groceries, get the weather, browse the web and sync them with our smartphones to get a better idea of where our family members are during the day.
And being able to blast Sisqůís ďThong SongĒ while making a ham sandwich isnít all that bad, either.