Las Vegas, United States
LG has officially kicked off the 2014 International CES in Las Vegas with the opening press conference of the show, presenting a suite of new consumer electronics products including Ultra HD and curved OLED displays, a curved smartphone and new connected fitness products.
The company has also broken with CES tradition by including a strong emphasis on appliances at the show, including its LG Studio “premium kitchen appliance line-up” as well as laundry appliances, a new Hom-Bot Square robotic vacuum, and refrigerators featuring the brand’s proprietary Door-in-Door design.
The focus on appliances comes after LG globally announced that it would expand its appliance offering in 2014, establishing a new division of its business exclusively responsible for the product category.
“We are expecting to see an increase in consumer demand for upscale appliances for new homes and remodelled kitchens,” said Lambro Skropidis, LG Australia general manager marketing, in the lead up to the show.
“With the success we have achieved in the refrigerator and washing machine segments worldwide, we are excited to see our company aggressively expanding its premium presence in the global market.”
LG will use CES to show off a number of new smart innovations in its appliance line-up, all designed to bring intuitive controls to the home. The brand showcased a new “HomeChat” feature that uses Natural Language Processing to allow consumers to communicate with and control their appliances using simple language, rather than set phrases.
The HomeChat feature is designed to work with Line messenger — a mobile messaging app that lets iPhone and Android users send messages and video and make free calls via VoIP. Although there is no word on whether the technology will make its way to the Australian market (LG is set to assess this over the coming year), Skropidis said it was an exciting development to see “smart appliances with the newest communication and intelligence capabilities” on show at CES.
Also new to the appliance space, LG is set to introduce new top loader and front loader washers and the Smart Hom-Bot Square robot vacuum, while the brand’s Door-in-Door technology will be rolled out across its full refrigeration platform over the coming year. Finally, the brand unveiled a new high-end LG Studio range of kitchen appliances, endorsed by US TV personality and Oprah Winfrey show regular, Nate Berkus.
While appliances were given plenty of airtime, consumer electronics also had their share of the stage, with the standout of the event going to the new G Flex curved smartphone. The 6-inch curved P-OLED display is matched by a curved battery and body that follows the contour of the face and is designed to offer a viewing experience “similar” to curved OLED TV.
LG also dipped its toes into the wearable technology space with the launch of two complementary connected fitness devices. The Lifeband Touch features a touch-sensitive OLED screen and Bluetooth connectivity, and will go up against the likes of the Fitbit and Jawbone Up in the fitness watch/wristband space. Alongside this, LG’s Heart Rate Earphones play music and provide audible updates on the user’s workout, while also offering visual feedback through a small display.
In LG’s traditional core competency, TVs, the Korean powerhouse built up plenty of buzz for the 12 new Ultra HD TV panels it will roll out in 2014 — all of which will offer 4K content streaming, thanks to a deal between LG and Netflix. With screen sizes ranging from 49 to 105-inches, the range includes a 105-inch 21:9 aspect ratio curved Ultra HD TV, as well as a 77-inch curved OLED Ultra HD TV. In the OLED space, LG will launch four additional models alongside the flagship curved OLED Ultra HD panel, starting at 55 inches.
Meanwhile, LG has revealed that the webOS platform the company purchased from Hewlett-Packard in March 2013 will be rolled out as a Smart TV platform during 2014 and beyond. WebOS was widely praised for its functionality and seamless software design, though a lack of critical mass meant Hewlett-Packard was unable to truly realise its potential.
“We are extremely excited to be able to introduce webOS optimised for LG Smart TV here at CES 2014,” Skrpodis said. “The beauty of webOS is that it provides so much freedom and is so simple to use. We feel confident that consumers will find navigating, exploring and switching between different forms of content on webOS a truly enjoyable, non-frustrating, experience.”
WebOS is expected to be included on “70 per cent” of LG’s Smart TVs globally, by the end of 2014. There is no firm date on an Australian release.
Featured Image: LG’s new washer-dryer combo.