CES 2016 doesn’t start until next week, but LG is priming the pump with the announcement of a smart home hub with a LCD display that can control intelligent appliances and sensors as well as stream music.
While the product will be on display at CES, which starts Wednesday in Las Vegas, no price or release date has been announced for the SmartThinq Hub. Amazon charges $180 for its Echo smart home cylinder, but that device includes its own artificial intelligence functions, something that's lacking in the SmartThinq Hub.
The LG SmartThinq Hub (pictured) serves as a gateway to smart sensors and connected appliances in the home, adding to that the ability to display reminders from personal calendars and stream music from its built-in speaker. The cylindrical SmartThind Hub includes a 3.5-inch color LCD display on the hub’s slanted top.
It connects to a smartphone app for two-way communication with smart appliances and smart sensors in the home. The SmartThinq Hub can communicate with several devices that use common smart home protocols, including Bluetooth, Z-Wave and ZigBee.
The LCD display will not only display such information like the time and weather, but it will also flash with calendar alerts from users’ smartphone, according to the company. LG hasn’t said whether the device will have the capability to display such standard smartphone notifications as text, call or social media updates.
The SmartThinq Hub's speaker can be used for streaming music from the free stations on iHeartRadio or from a user’s smartphone.
Compatible with Other Products
LG’s aim is to have the SmartThinq Hub be used as a monitor and controller for users’ smart appliances and products -- such as those manufactured by LG, which makes several connected appliances including refrigerators, washing machines and ovens. Those appliances can all be controlled via the SmartThinq Hub and its companion smartphone app.
The company's SmartThinq sensors can be applied to non-LG products, including any smart home device that supports the AllJoyn Alliance open source framework. The hub is compatible with products, including the Nest Learning Thermostat, the online automation service IFTTT and Lifx's color-changing smart LEDs.
LG recently teamed with the Lowe’s hardware chain to integrate LG’s smart devices with Lowe’s Iris smart home services. LG’s partnerships with other service providers is allowing the company to offer packaged bundles that might include a SmartThinq Hub, a SmartThinq sensor along with products such as smart lighting, motion sensors and moisture-detecting sensors.
"Openness and strong partnerships with industry leaders is what will make smart home technology more accessible and more convenient to consumers," said Jo Seong-jin, president and CEO of the LG's Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solution division, in a statement.