Manufacturing, Retail, and Technology

Appliance brand develops Wi-Fi refrigerator

June 10, 2016
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Whirlpool Jenn-Air Obsidian Wi-Fi refrigerator interior
A look inside the 72-inch tall, Obsidian-style Wi-Fi refrigerator with "counter depth" by Jenn-Air, a Benton Harbor-based appliance brand. Courtesy Jenn-Air

Having a party? A new refrigerator by an appliance brand in the region will allow you to remotely activate the ice maker to make more ice for the occasion.

Jenn-Air, a brand of Benton Harbor-based Whirlpool Corporation, said that it’s introducing this winter a new 72-inch tall, “counter-depth” refrigerator with Wi-Fi capability and a number of other luxury features.

The refrigerator with French-door-style fridge doors and a horizontal freezer door below will feature a "fully functioning" application for iOS and Android mobile devices.

The app will allow users to view the status of the appliance’s activated settings, as well as provide remote control of refrigerator settings. 

Users can choose from a range of notifications to receive, such as a door that's been left open or a loss of connectivity.

A special mode allows for remotely activating specific appliance behavior, such as making extra ice when entertaining or decreasing refrigerator temperatures in anticipation of doors being open more frequently.   

Jenn-Air said the control offered by the app can also help optimize conditions for the refrigerator's contents.

For example, the company said the Max Cool setting, which lowers the temperature for a select period of time, can be activated prior to returning home to unload a large batch of groceries. 

For added convenience, the app will also include access to online support and instructions and links to purchase items like water and air filters. 

The refrigerator will expand the brand's collection of Obsidian-style options beyond its currently available built-in models. Jenn-Air said the refrigerator offers a built-in appearance and the most capacity of the brand's counter-depth offerings.

Brian Maynard, Jenn-Air marketing director, said Jenn-Air is excited to broaden its Obsidian options with the counter-depth model that also offers a “new level with intelligent connectivity." 

The refrigerator also features Jenn-Air’s patented TwinFresh Climate Control System, which has separate evaporators in the refrigerator and freezer compartments that deliver independent humidity and temperature control, and two Humidiseal drawers that provide a higher humidity environment to help keep produce fresh. 

"We designed these to be peerless in their category with the same high standards that we apply to our built-in collection," Maynard said.

The product contains several more luxury features: soft-close refrigerator and freezer drawers; shelving with "crystal-clear" glass; metal door bins that are adjustable for flexible loading options; integrated cabinet LED strip lighting that brightly illuminates the interior; and drawer lights to “make sure nothing gets overlooked.”

The refrigerator's 72-inch height provides three extra inches that fill the gap 69-inch refrigerators often leave below standard cabinets.   

The product comes in a Euro design, with slightly curved, metal handles, and a more commercial Pro design, featuring metal handles with diamond-etched grips. 

Suggested retail prices for the Jenn-Air refrigerator will be $4,599 for the Euro design and $4,699 for the Pro design. 

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