LG plans to expand on its smart home offerings with a new partnership for recipe integration and a beer brewing solution called 'LG HomeBrew' at the upcoming International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 event. The introduction of LG Homebrew will likely be the showstopper. The device will feature a system for brewing DIY craft beer via single-use capsules containing all of the necessary components and automates the processes of fermentation, carbonation, and aging — generating around 10.5 pints of beer in approximately two weeks. It also serves brewed beverages and self cleans with a single button press in addition to allowing users to check the status of their brew via a connected companion app. Brewing times will vary based on the beer type chosen with five options to start with including a hoppy American IPA, golden American Pale Ale, full-bodied English Stout, zesty Belgian-style Witbier, and dry Czech Pilsner.
LG will additionally be showcasing the results of a new partnership with KitchenOS creator Drop that will see further integration and automation based on recipes for its smart kitchen appliance lineup. Selected user recipes through Drop will enable features found in LG's refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, and more to automatically accomplish tasks associated with cooking. Integrated with the company's WK9 XBoom AI ThinQ-enhanced speaker, Drop's integration will let users utilize voice interactions or touches to check on ingredients, select a recipe, preheat the oven or adjusting time, temperature, and cooking mode. Once dinner is done, the recipe selection will go further to automate settings for the LG QuadWash dishwasher in order to ensure the best clean possible based on the ingredients and cooking method.
Background: LG has been engineering Wi-Fi connected smart home appliances for a couple of years now and has one of the widest portfolios of those products on the market. As of 2017, it had as many as 87 appliances in its smart home ecosystem and, over recent years, has taken things far beyond general Google Assistant integration. The most recent of its integrations included the launch of the Assistant-enabled smart display mentioned above and acting as a central hub for hands-free interaction with its appliances and other smart home tools. That's already particularly well suited to a kitchen environment but prior to that at CES 2018, the Korean tech giant also unveiled a partnership with Food tech startup Innit.
By integrating with the Innit app, LG hardware was already approaching the capabilities of its Drop integration with a different set of recipes and more limited automation. Connected to the company's smart appliances, users could select a recipe and adjust for preferences similarly to Drop but with functionality effectively limited to the oven. More directly, the focus with that integration was on detailed recipe instructions across a wide range of levels to help users cook better. Drop's integration appears to be far more automated across further appliances with a closer focus on convenience and a different set of recipes.
Impact: LG's ThinQ AI branding will most likely play a central role in the official unveiling of the company's new appliances and integrated features throughout the upcoming CES 2019 event. Other features that haven't been unveiled yet will almost certainly serve as differentiators put forward by LG at the happening and it's possible other new appliances will be shown as well. Regardless, the announcement means consumers will be able to do more with their kitchen and have more choices when it comes to automation in that area of their home starting soon.