Smart kitchen commerce startup Freshub has inked a deal with Chinese consumer electronics giant TCL to build a smart kitchen assistant. The device, which is build using the TCL Xess mini tablet, will give consumers the ability to add items to their shopping baskets using voice commands.

From the release:

“”TCL is fully aligned with Freshub’s goal to connect grocery retailers directly to the consumer in the connected kitchen, and we are excited to make this happen in the U.S. and Europe,” said Iri Zohar, CEO of Freshub.

The deal, announced last week, is an interesting move for the Israel-based company.  The company, which has partnered with the likes of grocery commerce platform companies like NCR, is wading into an area currently dominated by Amazon. At the same time, this type of product can serve as a proof of concept for other large players in the CE and retail grocery space who are looking to build similar products. Given the rush by Amazon and Walmart to build smart commerce platforms this year, we’re likely to see a rush of new products in 2018 as grocery retailers prepare to stave off the competitive threat of larger home delivery players. In that sense, this deal positions Freshub as an alternative platform around which to build these types of kitchen commerce products.

The biggest challenge ahead for Freshub and TCL is getting consumers to buy into the idea of a kitchen assistant from someone other than Amazon, Google or Samsung. TCL doesn’t enjoy the same type of brand recognition as these larger players so they’ll need some of their grocery partners (Freshub has a partnership with Peapod) to actively co-market and even subsidize the “kitchen assistant.”

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