By Andrew Liszewski
From what I’ve seen having an LCD display built into a fridge hasn’t really caught on as a mainstream option just yet. I think they’re still waiting for their ‘killer app’ but in the meantime they’re just a solution looking for a problem. Whirlpool seems to be thinking the same way when they came up with their centralpark Connection idea. The new feature will be available on their side-by-side fridge models and will add a special plug to the top of the door that’s compatible with custom made removable plastic cradles.
The general idea is for the cradles to hold something like a DVD player or LCD picture frame allowing them to be ‘parked’ on the fridge as needed. But unlike a built-in display the devices can easily be removed and used elsewhere in the home as needed. At a recent trade show Whirlpool showed off cradles holding a portable Panasonic DVD player and a Philips LCD picture frame and apparently more electronics manufacturers have expressed interest in the concept. Ideally the centralpark feature will use a single standardized cradle and third-party manufacturers will produce devices specifically designed to fit the cradle and be used on a fridge.
Whirlpool hopes to have the centralpark Connection feature available on some of their fridge models sometime in 2008 with a starting price of about $899.