January 8, 2005 Being an early adopter has never been a budget affair. When significant functionality is first offered, it is almost always at a premium. That was again evident at the Consumer Electronics Show this week when TMIO launched its much-awaited Intelligent oven and announced a retail price of US$7500. The TMIO Intelligent Oven features a professional cooking system, built-in refrigeration, built-in ethernet and TMIO's control technology that enables some compelling functionality. For example, food placed into the oven stays refrigerated until a pre-programmed cook time, or you can directly start the cooking over the internet or from your mobile phone.

As TMIO puts it, the company is "redefining high-end" with the launch of its 30" Professional Series Double Wall oven but we're not so sure that there'll be long queues of willing customers when the TMIO is significantly more expensive than current premium ovens.

Samsung and LG priced their intelligent refrigerators at a similar price two years ago when they first hit the market and the public response was underwhelming. Now that's not to say that the TMIO oven doesn't offer fantastic functionality - just that the advanced features of LG and Samsung's networked refrigerators personified their producers' brand values and the massive companies could afford to have low sales because these flagship products had a whopping public "wow factor."

Two years later, it will be interesting to see how the TMIO oven is received by a public now far more attuned to the coming connected universe and the convenience it is hoped to bring. Without doubt there will be a willing minority of "cash rich, time poor" folks who will pay the premium for elimination of cooking "wait time"and the pre-release publicity has been high, so TMIO seems very confident it will have a viable market when the oven ships in April (2005).

"The public anticipation for this product has been exceptional," says David Mansbery, President and CEO of TMIO, "This is a true dream appliance built for everyone with a busy lifestyle."

"TMIO Intelligent Ovens give you control of your oven in real-time from your cell phone while you're stuck in traffic, working late or picking up the kids."

TMIO's pioneering work in internet- connected kitchen appliances has now been underway for nearly a decade and the oven has now been one of the featured products at the Consumer Electronics show for four straight years.

As the technology has developed, so too have the advantages - the unit has been recognised for its energy-efficient cooking cycle and it can also self-diagnose repair problems and even call a repairman upon your command.

TMIO quotes industry statistics shwoing that 60% of all home service calls require a second visit. Either the model number is unknown, there is uncertainty about the exact cause of the malfunction, or the correct replacement part wasn't on hand. Eliminating this step will clearly save time and money

TMIO's R&D could well spread into other appliances too - the addition of TMIO chips to the control board of any household appliance will enable a diagnostic capability once the networked home becomes a reality, and TMIO is exploring expansion in this are.

The company is also a Microsoft Consumer Experience (MCX) partner, meaning its remote command and control platform can be integrated into Microsoft .NET applications for Smartphones and Windows CE platforms.

View gallery - 2 images