Appliances get smartphone link

by

Staff Writer

Panasonic Corp. unveiled a new lineup of “smart” home appliances Tuesday that can be connected to smartphones, hoping to sell 2.6 million of the products and rake in ¥200 billion nationwide in fiscal 2014.

The lineup includes air conditioners, refrigerators, drum-type washers and a body composition monitor that measures and records the user’s weight and fat as well as the condition of bones and muscles.

The products will hit store shelves this fall.

For example, by using a smartphone the user can remotely control the air conditioner over the Internet and view the costs of electricity consumption.

The refrigerators are equipped with an IC chip that can wirelessly transfer data when a sensor-equipped smartphone touches it. Smartphone users thereby can see a record of how many times the doors have been opened and closed, a feature the company says will help users save energy more efficiently.

The fridge’s data transfer system is only compatible with Android-based smartphones equipped with the e-wallet system called Osaifu-Keitai, the de facto standard e-money system of Japanese cellphones.