Big companies will sometimes debut one intriguing product at CES and call it a day. But this year, Whirlpool decided to drop about a half dozen.
In what amounted to essentially a shock and awe campaign of smart-kitchen product debuts, the company announced a whole bunch of products that piqued my interest. We’ll be stopping by the Whirlpool booth when the show floor opens tomorrow to capture some of these items on video. For now, here’s an overview of what the company is unveiling in Las Vegas:
Connected Hub Wall Oven With Augmented Reality
This oven kind of blew my mind when Whirlpool told me about it, primarily because of the transparent front display: besides allowing a user to see inside the oven, it also acts as a video screen for displaying pretty much everything from video-cooking instructions to shopping lists to family calendars.
As Spoon readers know, I’ve felt for a long time now that the kitchen screen is a big opportunity, one that only a handful of companies (cough Amazon, cough Samsung) have tried to seize. With this new oven, Whirlpool is staking territory for this largely unclaimed terrain with an integrated screen that can power all sorts of video-centric applications in the kitchen.
KitchenAid Smart Oven+
This one was intriguing to me because not only does it offer smart-oven capabilities such as voice control and an LCD screen for recipe selection, it’s also modular and allows the user to add steam, grill or baking stone attachments. While I’m not sure I’m ready for a baking stone, after trying out a countertop steam oven, I’m sold on that method as a superior way to prepare many types of food. With this new KitchenAid oven, I can add it in.
The Smart Countertop Oven from WLabs
This oven is basically Whirlpool’s answer to the June smart oven. The countertop device has food identification capability, which means it can recognize a variety of food types and set cooking temperature and time accordingly. It also has a scan-to-cook feature and voice-control integration with Alexa. The smart countertop oven is from Whirpool’s incubation unit, W Labs, which essentially means it’s a limited availability product that is not – as of yet at least – part of the permanent Whirlpool lineup. The product will be available soon for preorders for $799 at the WLabs website.
KitchenAid Combination Cook Processor
While not as tech-forward as the other products, the KitchenAid Cook Processor may just be the most useful product debuted by Whirlpool/KitchenAid at CES this year. This multifunction cooking appliance can cut, stir, steam, and, just like a Thermomix, has an internal scale that enables step-by-step recipe guidance. The device has Wi-Fi on board, allowing it to connect to the Internet to download recipes and software updates.
I’ve long been waiting for one of the big appliance makers to offer up a Thermomix-like offering for the U.S. market, and it looks like KitchenAid finally has done just that.
KitchenAid Smart Display
I mentioned above my belief that kitchen screen is going to be a big deal, and so it makes sense that KitchenAid would offer up their own smart display with Google Assistant. Google’s been on a tear lately, hoovering up integration partners, and with KitchenAid, they’ve gotten a blue-chip partner into which they can plug their voice assistant and smart home platform. The KitchenAid Smart Display will work with Yummly, including a new Pro version of Whirlpool’s cooking guidance app that features celebrity chefs like Richard Blais.
Believe it or not, this isn’t even all of the announcements Whirlpool/KitchenAid will be making this week. We’ll be sure to post updates once we’ve visited the Whirlpool booth here at CES.