Our phones are getting more powerful. Our computers are getting lighter and more portable. TVs can connect to YouTube and the Internet all on their own. Our lives are filled with connected gadgets, but there's more out there.
Everyday household appliances can be connected to the Internet now, too. Come with us as we look at fridges, thermostats, and scales that all go online to allow you more convenient control and save you energy and money.
Heating and cooling how you want it
One home appliance you may not think of connecting to the Internet is a thermostat. Adding WiFi to a thermostat opens up a bunch of possibilities. Programming most thermostats can be a pain, but a touchscreen model from Filtrete is much simpler to use. You can log in to a Web page and program it from your computer. Setting schedules can help you save energy; the site even helps you estimate how much money you're spending.
Apps for iPhone and Android add even more features and convenience. Bundled under the covers and still cold? Reach for your phone, and turn up the heat!
The stylish Nest Learning Thermostat can not only be accessed online, but also uses motion sensors to learn your schedule. Once it knows you're out of the house, it turns the heat down, saving energy. If you have more than one Nest, they'll talk to each other over WiFi and set up a schedule for different parts of your house.
This fancy fridge from Samsung features a touchscreen with apps right in the door, giving you easy access to lots of settings. For example, you can set a different temperature for each refrigerator compartment. A notepad app lets you hand write notes or enter them via keyboard. Epicurious gives you access to hundreds of recipes. You can even check your Google Calender or use a Weatherbug app to see if it's going to be picnic weather.
LG also has a smart fridge and stove that work together. As you're putting groceries into your fridge, take a picture of the receipt with your smartphone and your fridge will keep track of what's inside of it. The fridge will warn you when food is getting close to its expiration date and suggest recipes to use it up. Once you select a recipe, the fridge will tell the oven to start preheating. You can even check the oven timer across the house from an LG TV.
Smart fridges can lead to funny situations. One Amazon reviewer ran into a problem where the fridge wouldn't stay set to the right temperature. To fix it, he had to reboot his fridge. That's not exactly something we're used to thinking about!
Run the world over
If you like to work out at home, you can hop online via your exercise equipment, too. NordicTrack has several treadmills, elliptical machines, and bikes that feature its iFit technology. iFit connects your equipment to Google Maps, allowing you to create a route and then run it. Some NordicTrak machines have screens that will show you the Google Street View as you run along.
iFit devices connect to the iFit Web site that tracks your workouts, heart rate, distance traveled, and more. You can set up goals and look at your workout history, too.
To go along with exercise equipment, try the Withings WiFi Body Scale. This scale tracks your weight, fat percentage, and BMI. And what does it do once it has that information? Why, it tweets about it! That's not a joke. This scale connects to Twitter and tells everyone how much you weigh. We suppose that's one way to stay motivated. You can also go online and look at your history to see how your weight has been trending.
Where'd the remote go?
There are plenty of TVs that can get online, but did you know that your cable or satellite box can, too? Most major providers like Comcast, Dish Network, and DirecTV have apps for Android and iPhone smartphones. Once you connect your receiver to your home Internet, you can schedule DVR recordings from the app. Some providers will stream your subscribed channels to your device. You can even use your phone as a TV remote when you're at home.
The absolute coolest? Getting our hands on the Samsung Smart Windows. Imagine controlling your blinds with a remote. Or how about setting an alarm so that as the time gets closer to when you're supposed to wake up, the window lets in more and more light, so you wake up naturally. Look outside to check the weather, and see the forecast for the day and the week displayed. If it's cold and foggy out, put on a picture that's bright and sunny instead!
We can't wait to see to see what new connected gadgets come out next. The future is so bright we have to wear Internet-enabled shades!