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article imageSamsung's crazy touchscreen smart fridge launches for $5,600

By James Walker     May 5, 2016 in Technology
Three months after announcing it at CES 2016, Samsung has officially launched its new Family Hub fridge. The smart appliance features a huge 21.5-inch touchscreen that dominates the front fascia. It pairs with a mobile app for control from the Internet.
When Samsung introduced the Family Hub, it wasn't clear if it would be sold anywhere outside Korea. However, Samsung news site SamMobile reports it launched in retail chains across the U.S. today, exposing it to a much larger audience.
The 21.5-inch display is the same size as many computer monitors. It has a Full HD display and a camera that lets you see inside your fridge without opening the door. A companion mobile app lets you check on your groceries from anywhere in the world. You can order in more food if supplies are running low from the new MasterCard Groceries app.
The display also has other uses. As the name suggests, Samsung sees the fridge as a kind of focal point for an entire family, a place where people cluster throughout the day. The fridge can be used as a smart calendar, weather station, media player or command-and-control centre for other smart products.
"The Family Hub is a revolutionary new refrigerator with a Wifi enabled touchscreen that lets you manage your groceries, connect with your family and entertain like never before," Samsung wrote on its website for the Family Hub.
Samsung s Family Hub smart fridge
Samsung's Family Hub smart fridge
Samsung Newsroom Flickr
The fridge connects to Samsung's SmartThings connected home system. It is capable of managing other devices in the smart home, feeding status updates from them all to the giant touchscreen on the front panel. The Family Hub wants to be a single destination that lets you oversee snapshots of your day.
The fridge doesn't come cheap though. Samsung is asking $5,600 for the standard model with a stainless steel finish. Black stainless steel pushes the price up by $400, taking the total cost to $6,000. That's a substantial asking price for a fridge no better at refrigerating than its not-so-smart rivals.
Buying a Family Hub could prove to be costly in other ways too. Experts have questioned the security of the Internet of Things in the wake of demonstrations of weaknesses in many IoT products. An Internet-connected fridge may seem like a good idea until a hacker breaks into your network and resets the temperature settings.
Security researchers successfully extracted Gmail credentials from a previous Samsung smart fridge after discovering serious flaws in its software. Earlier this week, experts warned against buying Internet of Things appliances as serious vulnerabilities in Samsung's Smart Home platform were uncovered. A study found that attackers could easily exploit fundamental design issues in the platform to take control of a user's home.
The Family Hub is available from today at U.S. retailers including Best Buy, Sears, Lowe's and US Appliance. A complete list of vendors is available at Samsung's website. The fridge indicates the Internet of Things isn't going to go away anytime soon. Instead, technology companies are seeking to convince consumers that "smart" is the way to go, even as serious security concerns threaten to undermine the entire concept.
More about Samsung, family hub, smart fridge, Smart, IoT
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