Every year at CES
, there are tons of companies pushing home automation and smart appliances, and, every year, these products fail to storm the marketplace. LG
is hoping that 2011 will be different, and that the key to success will be the sudden proliferation of tablets and smartphones. LG's new Thinq technology will let handheld devices "talk" to the company's appliances
, such as ovens, refrigerators and washing machines. The company is even launching HOM-BOT, a robotic vacuum cleaner that will not only start tidying up on demand but, thanks to its built-in camera, also let you take a peek around your home while you're away. With Thinq-enabled appliances connected to the 'Net via a smart meter, owners will be able to schedule cooking times, defrost their refrigerators and start different cycles on their washing machines from their tablets or phones -- not just while they're home, but while they're out and about. Imagine prepping a nice lasagna, which you toss in the oven on your way out the door in the morning. As you leave work that evening, you remotely tell your oven to fire up, and you'll have a nice hot meal waiting for you at home.
The smart appliances can also send out alerts for things like the ice maker turning on or off, or a load of laundry finishing a cycle. The refrigerator even has a tool for monitoring your food inventory, although it will have to be managed manually to be of any use. Perhaps most interesting is the diagnostic tool, which allows the appliance to play a series of tones that can be decoded over the phone by LG support technicians. And, for the eco-conscious, every Thinq-enabled appliance will track its energy usage. Check out the gallery below.