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Tuesday, 10th December 2013
In General Japan News,

Electronic firms look to the kitchen

The famous Japanese technological innovation is prevailing, it seems, with companies such as Panasonic and Toshiba turning their attention to 'smart apps ' that will hopefully aid the cooking and food shopping processes.

In the run-up to the world's biggest technology fair, CES, which takes place in Las Vegas next month, both firms have been pulling out all the stops in an effort to impress upon? buyers that such devices can be useful.

Among the new offerings to astound customers, a fridge with a camera that texts users a photo of what they can have for dinner is one of the highlights, as well as a voice-controlled washing machine that can communicate with other devices via the cloud to cut energy bills.

The theory is that purchasers will have to buy their domestic appliances from one company only to ensure compatibility.

However, it is currently difficult to persuade consumers that they actually need the technology in the first place as Toshiba's fridge with additional features currently costs around $2,800 versus less than $800 for a basic model.

"Everyone says having the same brand of goods would be more energy-efficient, but in the end it comes down to the price and function of each product," Satomi Wakamatsu, a 41-year old housewife from Hiroshima, told Reuters.

She added that she had considered smart devices but abandoned the idea when she added up the costs.

Those interested in finding out what the domestic appliances of the future might look like should visit the Panasonic building in Odaiba, Tokyo, where the latest in washing machines, mixers and fridges is being showcased, complete with weird and wonderful Japanese adjustments.

The Sony building in Ginza, closer to central Tokyo station, provides a similar experience focused around games consoles, televisions and video cameras.

Written by Mark Smith