Consumer Electronics Show Highlights: Some Very Needy Appliances

Written by: Deirdre Sullivan

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The home of the not-too-distant future will be filled with appliances that want to share stuff with you.

The Consumer Electronics Show featured plenty of household gizmos that can hold your attention 24/7.

On display at the event were Wi-Fi-enabled appliances that can be operated remotely and communicate with users. While these high-tech gadgets appear to be both efficient and convenient, they have the potential to be just another digital distraction.

If I lost you, here’s a great example:

The Parrot Flower Power is a smart sensor for your household plants. It’s designed to send you an alert via smartphone or tablet whenever your plant is thirsty, cold, or even lonely (okay, I made the last part up). While I’ll admit this gadget seems awesome, do you really need your houseplant texting you on top of all the other digital messages you get every day? To learn more, check out the video below. Or check out our earlier post on a different version of a plant sensor. 

LG’s new line of “smart” appliances also commands attention. Thanks to an app, you can closely monitor the stuff in your oven so you’ll be in the know if the temperature fluctuates. Even LG’s new line of washers and dryers will keep you updated while doing laundry. (Although they aren’t the first washer and dryer with Wi-Fi capability — Samsung introduced their Wi-Fi washer and dryer last year.)

Sure, these machines are energy efficient and easier to maintain, but they seem too needy. I don’t communicate with my current oven and washer, and they seem fine with that. Check out the video below and tell us what you think. (Or for a bit of nostalgia, check out thisslideshow on vintage appliances.)

Of course, there were some products at CES that I wouldn’t mind monitoring or getting a call from, like AT&T’s new security system that can open doors if you’re locked out, or can send you a text message if something suspicious is going on.

But appliances like Samsung's T9000, a Wi-Fi fridge that features a 10” LED screen with Evernote integration and a few apps, including Twitter, sound really overwhelming. While Evernote is great for creating grocery lists, do I really need my fridge to share my Twitter feed with me? I’m just saying.