Alibaba and Midea launch a smart refrigerator

Tech giant Alibaba Group and Chinese electronic goods maker Midea Group on Thursday announced their strategic partnership in the Internet of Things (IoT), and introduced the first Midea refrigerator based on YunOS. YunOS is one of the world’s largest smartphone operating systems, developed by Alibaba’s cloud computing unit, Aliyun.

“We’re opening a refrigerator door, and we’re also opening the door to a smart and digital lifestyle from the future, where hundreds of millions of households in China can experience a different way of life,” said Zhang Yong, CEO of Alibaba Group.

The multi-door Midea refrigerator, with a volume of 325L, interacts with users via a 10.1 inch screen. It offers multiple smart services such as being remotely controlled using smartphones, recognizing its contents, and recommending recipes. In the near future, when voice recognition is built into it, all you need is to say “I want apples” and it will automatically book some for you online.

Recognizing contents (Photo edited from Baidu Images)
Recognizing contents (Photo edited from Baidu Images)

The refrigerator will be available on the e-commerce platform Tmall from Saturday, priced at RMB 3,999 (USD 599) or RMB 4,999 for an upgraded version.

The partnership of Alibaba and Midea can be traced to 2014, when they joined hands to produce home devices that talk to each other. However, the Midea refrigerator officially symbolizes the start of YunOS@Home, a set of applications designed for users’ daily life at home.

According to Gu Zhicheng, head of smart hardware for the YunOS business unit, YunOS@Home will work with partners to develop in five major fields relevant to home furnishing: kitchen and bathroom, the home environment, healthcare, security and protection, and entertainment.

(Top photo from Baidu Images)

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