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LG bets big on AI, Samsung on IoT startups

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LG Electronics' Vice President of Marketing David VanderWaal presents the LG SIGNATURE OLED TV W at the LG press conference at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nev. Wednesday. / AFP-Yonhap
LG Electronics' Vice President of Marketing David VanderWaal presents the LG SIGNATURE OLED TV W at the LG press conference at the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nev. Wednesday. / AFP-Yonhap

By Yoon Sung-won

LAS VEGAS ― LG Electronics is strengthening cooperation with Amazon and Google in introducing artificial intelligence (AI) technologies for smarter home appliances and robots, the company said Wednesday (local time).

During a press conference at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, LG Electronics CTO Scott Ahn promised that LG will provide customers with innovative technologies infused with AI, including big data, cloud computing and the internet of things (IoT).

"We will expand cooperation with global partners such as Amazon and Google and join the international IoT standardization alliance, the Open Connectivity Foundation, to strengthen ties for standard technologies," he said.

LG Electronics introduced its exclusive operating system (OS) for home appliances, WebOS, for the first time in a refrigerator. Prior to this, the OS has been mainly used in the company's smart TVs.

The new smart refrigerator has a 29-inch full high-definition touch LCD on the front. A double-tap on the screen activates lighting inside the refrigerator, allowing users to look inside without opening the door. A Smart Tag feature allows them to register food storage information such as expiration dates on the screen.

The company said the new smart refrigerator, the LG Smart InstaView Door-in-Door, is compatible with Amazon's voice-recognizing AI system Alexa. A user can give a verbal order to the Alexa system to play music, search for news information, shop online or check schedules while cooking, according to the company.

"It is a pleasure to present a unique system based on the technologies of the two companies, which are respectively leading the home appliances and IT sectors," Amazon Senior Vice President David Limp said. "Under the solid partnership, we will seek the future of smart homes together."

LG Electronics also unveiled its new line of self-learning home appliances, Deep ThinQ. Based on a technology called "deep learning," its new devices, such as air-conditioners and robot vacuum cleaners, are designed to collect the information from multiple sensors, analyze data through Wi-Fi networks and the cloud to access the use patterns and environmental factors, the company said.

The company also said it will boost its robot business, integrating and tapping into all technologies including deep learning, autonomous driving, control and IoT that it has accumulated through experience in the robot vacuum cleaner business since 2003.

At Wednesday's conference, the company unveiled Hub and lawnmower robots for households and public-use robots that help passengers at airports.

The Hub robot is designed to control other smart devices at home, read books for people, play music, send reminders of scheduling information and give tips for cooking recipes.

The airport robots, Airbots, include one for passenger guidance and another for facility cleaning. LG Electronics said both models will start pilot operations at Incheon International Airport this year.

For cars, LG Electronics introduced a voice and motion recognition interface, panoramic display, a surround view monitoring system and a drive state monitoring system that prevents users from driving while drowsy.

The company also unveiled the LG SIGNATURE organic light-emitting diode (OLED) W televisions, which are less than 4 millimeters thick.

Tim Baxter, president and COO of Samsung Electronics America, speaks during a Samsung news conference before CES International, in Las Vegas, Wednesday. / AP-Yonhap
Tim Baxter, president and COO of Samsung Electronics America, speaks during a Samsung news conference before CES International, in Las Vegas, Wednesday. / AP-Yonhap

Samsung's IoT startup fund


Samsung Electronics will establish a $150 million fund to foster promising startups in future technologies, aiming at boosting the IoT connectivity chain of its products and services.

By investing in IoT, virtual reality (VR) and AI startups through its Samsung Next Fund, the company expects to vitalize the IoT-related industrial ecosystem.

"Samsung Electronics has strived to provide consumers with entertainment and convenience through technological innovations and lifestyle designs," Samsung Electronics America President and COO Tim Baxter said. "In 2017, our major home appliances, including TVs, will be compatible with the IoT and based on this, more services will be available."

At a press conference the day before the opening of the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2017, Samsung Electronics said it will present a new washer and dryer set, called the Flex Wash and Flex Dry.

"On the back of the innovative Add Wash, Samsung Electronics has been recognized as a top brand for washers, following refrigerators, in the U.S. market," said John Herrington, senior vice president and general manager of home appliances at Samsung Electronics America.

Both devices are divided into a smaller top and larger bottom that can work separately. They are also equipped with smart home features based on the IoT. Users can monitor and control all washing and drying processes through a mobile device.

The premium kitchen appliances package, which includes a refrigerator, wall oven, combination oven, top cooker, hood and dishwasher, also supports IoT connectivity through Wi-Fi, the company said.

Samsung Electronics also announced new partnerships for its wearables, including the Gear S3 smartwatch.

Working with global industrial designer Arik Levy, it released a new smartwatch band for the Gear S3. It has also cooperated with U.S. music streaming service Spotify, German carmaker BMW and global sportswear brand Under Amour for new smartwatch apps.

The company showcased two new Chromebooks and premium gaming laptops, called the Samsung Notebook Odyssey series. The new gaming laptops have wider cooling vents and fans to maintain performance even when running games for a long time, it said.

Following a showcase, Samsung Electronics highlighted its new 88-inch and 75-inch QLED TVs at the event.

"The new QLED TV is the next-generation product that has overcome the limits of existing displays," said Joe Stinziano, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics America.

During Tuesday's showcase, the company stressed that the new QLED TVs provide more vivid brightness and depict deeper blacks with wider viewing angles.

Stinziano also highlighted that the new QLED TV can connect to peripheral devices using a single transparent cable and can be mounted on a wall without making multiple large holes in it. He said the company will start shipping the new TVs next month.




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