GE Appliances took to CES earlier this week to announce its latest efforts in the home automation segment, specifically a new product meant to be used as a control center for smart kitchens. The smart hub features a large 27-inch touchscreen complete with built-in exhaust hood ventilation and as such, it was designed to sit above the kitchen stove. It runs on an in-house operating system called the Haier U+ Smart Life Platform, meaning that the hub can be used to its full potential only when controlling GE Appliances' products powered by the same OS.
This would include GE connected appliances ranging from refrigerators to dishwashers, wall ovens, as well as washers and dryers. It's unclear whether the hub will work at all with smart home appliances that rely on a different operating system, but either way, it's evident judging by the hub's design that prospective customers will have to fully commit to the brand and at least reorganize their kitchens in order to make room for this large touchscreen above the stovetop. It's not a simple tablet that can be hooked up to a wall stand, but rather it seems to want and integrate fully into the range of usual kitchen appliances. It's meant to occupy the space usually reserved for kitchen exhaust hoods right above the stove, and likewise, it comes with built-in hood ventilation as well as a series of lights for the cooktop. Having said all that, the GE Appliances smart hub for the kitchen should be able to withstand exposure to steam, heat, smoke, and grease, at least in theory. This seems like a must-have selling point for this type of device, but the company doesn't seem to have revealed any details on the matter at CES so it remains to be seen just how resilient the hub will be.
Also worth noting is that the appliance features two cameras, one facing the user and allowing for video calls, and the other facing down on the countertop. As expected the hub can be used to search for recipes, view reminders, check the calendar and so on, though as yet it's unclear whether it offers voice recognition capabilities. Pricing details for the GE Appliances smart kitchen hub are unknown but the product should be available for purchase in the second half of 2018.