If the launch of its Internet Refrigerator more than a decade ago didn't get the point across, then its steady stream of other smart fridges, washers and other appliances since certainly did. LG is a big believer in the connected home, and at CES next week it will showcase a new device targeted at those of a similar faith. Its SmartThinQ Hub is designed as a communication center for a home's smart appliances, while serving as a speaker and notification system at the same time.
The cylindrical SmartThinQ Hub has a metallic body and connects with smart devices in the home over Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and the Zigbee protocol. Users will be able to connect to it via a smartphone app and then control appliances like washing machines, refrigerators, ovens and robotic vacuum cleaners with the Hub acting as the middle man.
It also gathers information from connected devices and sensors and can share this data via either a 3.5-inch color LCD display, or audibly through the built-in speaker. It will be compatible with certain non-LG devices, with the company listing Lowe's Iris smart home appliances and some devices supporting the Alljoyn Alliance open source framework as those ready to work right out of the gate.
The Hub will also work with older devices that are connected to LG's SmartThinQ sensors pictured above. These hockey puck-shaped sensors were announced earlier this year and can be stuck on conventional devices to make them smart, such as a "dumb" washing machine, for example, that alerts the user when a cycle is done.
The Hub's speaker can stream music from Internet radio service iHeartRadio, or the user's smartphone or tablet over Bluetooth. The LCD screen, which is tilted upwards for easier viewing, can also display reminders from personal calendars.
There's no word yet on pricing or availability, but LG will be showcasing the SmartThinQ Hub at CES next week.