A complete history of internet-connected fridges

Samsung Smart FridgeDavid Becker/Getty ImagesAnother internet fridge.

There’s one piece of technology that’s almost guaranteed to appear at every high-tech trade show: the connected refrigerator.

The idea behind a connected fridge is simple: it’s a fridge with a screen that can show emails, news, order food, and play TV. But internet fridges have been around since 1998, and they have still never taken off.

We took a look at the history of the internet fridge, from early experimental devices in 1998 through to the brand new Android fridge released at CES this year.

1998: Internet fridges are 'looming on the horizon'

The Boca Raton News said on October 5, 1998 that internet fridges were 'looming on the horizon.'

1999: Internet fridges will help you live like the Jetsons

On January 16 1999, the Deseret News said that internet fridges were a passport to the future where everyone would live like the Jetsons. One expert even claimed that connected refrigerators were 'only the tip of the iceberg.'

1999: Internet fridges will make your kitchen cool

The BBC latched on to the internet fridge hype in 1999. It published an article on the Electrolux Screenfridge that launched in 2000.

2003: Internet fridges have a brilliant future

Tech News World published an article about smart homes in 2003 which explained that home networks involving internet fridges were the future.

2006: Electrolux reboots the Screenfridge

Remember the Electrolux Screenfridge? It's fine if you don't, not many people do. It launched in 2000, but then everything went quiet. Electrolux gave it a swanky redesign in 2006.

2007: Whirlpool launches yet another internet fridge with a special docking port for your Jabil

A company named Jabil produced loads of products for your fridge.

2008: Internet fridges are back from the dead

PCWorld said in 2008 that internet fridges could be back from the dead. It was all down to a new $1,999 (£1,361) fridge from Whirlpool that let customers hang devices like photo frames on it.

2010: The world's first DIY internet fridge

Samidh Chakrabarti published a blog post detailing how he made his own internet fridge using an old laptop.

2011: Internet fridges come in from the cold


In 2011, Australia's Courier-Mail recognised that internet fridges had been a flop, but hinted that they were on the way back.

2011: Internet fridges invade SXSW

Tumblr blog F--- Yeah Internet Fridge spotted this SXSW panel that was all about connected fridges.

2014: Internet fridges can now send text messages

LG's latest internet fridges could follow you around all day via text messages. You could text them questions about what was in stock.

2014: Internet fridges gain the ability to take selfies

One way that smart fridges can figure out what is inside them is a camera. The new LG fridge used a camera to send a photo of its insides to its owner.

2014: Forbes asks whether internet fridges will finally have their day

Forbes contributor Michael Wolf wondered whether technology had advanced enough to make internet fridges affordable.

2014: Internet fridges are wonderful

Wired published an article in 2014 that looked at the 'wonderful' possibilities of internet fridges.

2015: Visa says we'll all pay for things with our fridges

Visa executive Jonathan Vaux told Business Insider at Mobile World Congress in 2015 that in the future, everyone's fridge will have a payment capability.

2016: Samsung launches a new internet fridge

Samsung just launched a new internet fridge that includes a giant screen and a camera.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.