back to article LG promises to make home appliance software upgradeable to take on new tasks

As the right to repair movement gathers pace, Korea’s LG has decided to make sure that its whitegoods can be upgraded. The company today announced a scheme called “Evolving Appliances For You.” The plan is sketchy: LG has outlined a scenario in which a customer who moves to a locale with climate markedly different to their …

  1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    A clothes drier that adapts itself to prevailing conditions

    I am obviously a child of the sixties (oh, wait, I am a child of the sixties).

    In the cellar here, next to the washing machine, are a couple of racks upon which wet clothing taken from the washing machine may be hung. Above the racks is a window which may be opened or closed as desired, depending on current climatic conditions.

    I'm really struggling to see how I update its software.

    (oh, and if you were wondering: I consider an electrically powered clothes drier an utterly pointless waste of energy. You may of course have a different opinion).

    1. Denarius Silver badge

      Re: A clothes drier that adapts itself to prevailing conditions

      I would up-vote you but you have not lived in a monsoonal climate, have you, especially with a new baby in the house. For most of Oz, though, a sensible attitude.

      1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

        Re: A clothes drier that adapts itself to prevailing conditions

        Not that many monsoons in Yorkshire, to be fair, nor in Germany where I live now.

        But at the flat in Copacabana we used a hanging rack...

        I do appreciate your point. But still, for most of the world, it's an unnecessary luxury (and just a luxury for the rest).

        1. theOtherJT

          Re: A clothes drier that adapts itself to prevailing conditions

          Does come in handy when you live in basically two rooms mind. I've definitely had apartments where the only possibility to dry clothes was in a combined washer/dryer because there's literally nowhere you could hang them indoors that wouldn't be massively in the way and there was no outside space.

          1. EricB123 Bronze badge

            This is Stupid

            I once lived in a subdivision where it was against the rules to hang your laundry outside. Maybe the homeowner's association had it in with the local electric company.

    2. Wade Burchette

      Re: A clothes drier that adapts itself to prevailing conditions

      "I consider an electrically powered clothes drier an utterly pointless waste of energy. You may of course have a different opinion."

      I don't know how it is in new European homes, but in America the laundry areas in new houses aren't big enough for a drying rack and worse, these homes are almost always built in communities that have a Homeowner Association (HoA). I despise HoA's because they make you pay for the privilege of being told what you can and cannot do on your own property with the rules enforced by a bunch of retired busybodies who make it their mission in life to meddle in your affairs. Almost every HoA also prohibits you from have an outside clothes line on your property. The result of small laundry areas, not rooms, and no outside clothes line means the only practical way to dry your clothes is with a machine.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: A clothes drier that adapts itself to prevailing conditions

        Yes, HOAs are the evil. I moved to get away from one. One of the advantages of the financial collapse was the amount of simply abandoned houses made the HOAs be not quite as dickish to the remaining ones.

        Anyway, my "utility room" is barely big enough to contain the washer, dryer, and water heater, plus cabinets above for cleaning/washing supplies. To fold clothes, I have to carry them the length of the house to the master bedroom.

        It's better than my last house, where I had to go through 3 rooms to carry groceries from the garage to the kitchen.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    to take on new tasks

    beyond the 'regular' (read: basic) washing programmes. You want 'superquick'? You want 'woolens'? You want to operate at night-time, to take advantage of more economical (slightly less rip-off) tariff? You want to tune down the volume of adverts blaring out from the built-in, unblockable speaker? Well, this one-off discounted, monthly SUBSCRIPTION will help you do just that!

    but hey, there's this 'darknet' thingy, where your penile avatar can travel, and grab this 'free' file to remove those unfair constraints (and add a little mike feature and others too ;)

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: to take on new tasks

      "unblockable speaker"

      Glue.

  3. Denarius Silver badge

    so what do those dial thingies and buttons do ?

    Another set of complications, buggy software and security problems solving no problems coming up.

    1. hoola Silver badge

      Re: so what do those dial thingies and buttons do ?

      The issue is that is is now cheaper to have buggy software and a few push buttons or worse a touch screen than have real switches.

      The excuse that is often touted is that it is more reliable.......

      What they actually mean is "it is more convenient for the manufacturer".

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: so what do those dial thingies and buttons do ?

        And when sight-impaired users complain the only models left on the market are all unsable, they'll start adding Alexa, Google and Siri into them and no one will be safe from the $evil_big_corp monitoring.

      2. Fred Daggy Bronze badge

        Re: so what do those dial thingies and buttons do ?

        I can imagine that manufacturer X, having stolen all the executives from the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, looks at the list of subscribed washing machines:

        "PFY, Number 34459393 on 54 Main St is a week over their statutory guarantee, better send the command to bung up the motor".

        "Yes Guv"

        "Make it look like their fault, too"

        "Right, Something small, soldered in that fails 3 times out of 4 and is part of a bigger mechanism that costs almost as much as a full replacement"

        "That's the one. I see big things in your future PFY"

  4. Pete 2 Silver badge

    The cynic in me

    > use LG’s ThingQ app to upgrade their clothes dryer with new software

    I reckon this is just a ploy for the company to extract more revenue (nobody said these upgrades would be free) from existing products. Maybe even as a marketing ruse to increase the price above and (far) beyond the actual cost of the additional hardware.

    OTOH, "upgradable" is just another word for hackable.

    On the gripping hand, it means they can do away with their software testing team. Gotta bug? Never mind, we'll just push a patch.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: The cynic in me

      I would say the 'Cynic in you' is functioning well, although it missed the opportunity for LG to gather more data on changes of circumstance of it's users.

      'We see you have moved to a warmer climate, you may be interested in LG's new Smart AI Mojito Maker.....'

    2. Arbuthnot the Magnificent

      Re: The cynic in me

      "Gripping hand"? Insert obligatory "I understood that reference" gif, must dig those books out. Cheers!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "An image distributed by LG shows off the ability to change the tune a dryer plays after it finishes a load"

    Hurrah! If only Samsung did one for my (non-i'net) washer that only has the option of a never ending tune or silence... whatever happened to using a few 'pings' to alert me to the fact that it has finished

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Whatever happened to knowing how long it's been set for and returning to the machine once time's up?

      Plus my drier is in the garage, so it could ping away to its metal heart's content and we'd never hear it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I was on the point of taking wire cutters to the speaker on my washing machine, until I finally found the STFU button sequence. I do not need to be woken up at 5am just to be informed that the washing has finished.

      1. Gene Cash Silver badge

        My (about 2yr old) LG machine has a specific button to toggle between loud/soft/off. It also has a very annoying series of tunes it plays when you turn it on, select a cycle, press a button, or turn it off. It sounds like a chiptune symphony every time I wash but I do need the sound, as the machine needs different lengths of time for different cycles and I can't be bothered to keep precise track of it all.

    3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Our (not Samsung) washer does indeed just ping when it finishes the wash cycle. Responding to the ping leads to disappointment. The door remains locked for a further period to no good purpose that I can see.

      After a while it unlocks the door. Silently.

      I can never fathom what happens in the heads of UI designers.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Disappointed

      Here I am, returning for some snark on "playing a tune after finishing a load", and nothing?

      Yeah, I get it, not had a good Monday either.

      :)

  6. lglethal Silver badge
    Facepalm

    "An image distributed by LG shows off the ability to change the tune a dryer plays after it finishes a load"

    I'm glad there focusing on the important things in life...

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      The first thing I did after my new (other Korean brand) washing machine finished it's first load was to find out (RTFM) how to shut the fucking thing up.

      LG must think they'll be able to sell an upgrade (or even a subscription) that would allow the owner to shut it up.

      Or the might try to spew advertisements, just like some TVs do

  7. John Riddoch

    No more obsolescence?

    That would be nice. Most of the "Smart" features in my LG TV stopped working after about 5 years after Youtube et al changed the protocol version and LG didn't update the firmware.

  8. steelpillow Silver badge
    Unhappy

    How long?

    "I am sorry Dave, I cannot update my software to fix the bug, open my door and release your hand, LG ended my software support last month."

  9. TheManInSpain

    Does this mean that my LG heat pump will be upgradable? (once they get around to installing a network connection on it)

    And maybe they should change the company's name to the "Sirius Cybernetics Corporation"

  10. 43300

    The problem is with making devices "smart" in the first place...

    1. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

      Indeed, because the people who attempt this clearly aren't..

  11. _LC_ Silver badge
    FAIL

    Broken promises

    I can recall an LG promise. Their new smart phone was to receive an update to the newest Android version. It never did. I never bought anything from LG ever again.

    Hence, to me this looks like their marketing department trying to tackle their biggest issue “with words”.

  12. Julz Silver badge
    Coat

    Is

    It so they can add in a genuine people personality?

  13. Timo

    Please patent it

    I hope that they will patent this, so that it will prevent any other company from doing something like this. Then I'll only need to avoid that one brand.

    We have an LG microwave oven and it plays an extended tune for every action, and shutting off the chimes silences everything, even the timer that you'd want to hear. It also has omitted the useful reminder chirps when you've left food inside.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Please patent it

      I think it should be mandatory for any appliance capable of making sounds that have no utility to have a speaker/buzzer/piezo/whatever cutout switch somewhere - or should come accompanied by a side cutter with no impact on warranty.

      I honestlly think the morons who come up with these ideas watch too many TV shows where they are unable to show a computer without it making noise with every keystroke and screen activity other than a single beep indicating the end of a process (which is admittely handy in a lab when you have other things going on). Ugh.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I just want my Telly to stop giving all my info away

    I just want my telly to stop going out on the internet to give LG all my info / conversations I have in front of the telly.

    Or going on the internet at 4 am?

    What the cluck is it doing, I must get a proper cable router as BT Smart hub 2 is pants at firewall security.

  15. DS999 Silver badge
    Devil

    I'm going to hold out

    Until they sell a washing machine that can be software upgraded to a dishwasher. Until then, I'll stick with dumb appliances, thanks!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'm going to hold out

      But that's already possible. It'll break things and won't dry for sh*t, but there's nothing stopping you loading up your washing machine with crockery and spoons and stuff.

      :)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    There's only one feature I need..

    .. and that's the ability to SILENCE any beeps coming from an appliance other than what is absolutely required for safety.

    I do NOT want an appliance that contuinues beeping for hours just because some &^&$% of a designer thought it was a good idea, I most certainly don't want it to play any tunes and frankly, about the only beep that is warranted is a single beep at the end of a program or, in the case of a microwave, a warning that the food may be hot but even that I can do without because I have these things called braincells and worse, I can even learn from burning my fingers/tongue so that's unlikely to happen to me twice. I also don't want to hear about this being done because it makes the manufacturer laible because (a) I'm not in the US and (b) judging by the disclaimers I have to wade through when trying to read the manual (yes, I do that, I'm an engineer) I have apparently sold my soul and first born already anyway by the sheer fact of buying the damn thing.

    So yes, somehow most of my new appliances always seem to have the wires of any device capable of making noise badly connected. Surely that happened in the factory..

    1. Fred Daggy Bronze badge

      Re: There's only one feature I need..

      I call the endless announcements "American mode" and the silent one "normal".

      Not most Americans, just the "sue McDonalds because the coffee is hot" type Americans.

  17. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    upgradeable to take on new advertising

    There, fixed the title. I never use the shovelware in my LG TV yet it keeps downloading more and more of it. It's best to turn it on early so it can finish flashing messages about everything new. It's getting unplugged as soon as the core software is stable because I stream from a much less annoying external HDMI device.

  18. Sam Crawley
    Holmes

    What I need to know is will this allow me to interrupt the washing machine cycle without having to stand like a lemon for several minutes with the one sock I forgot to put in until the software nanny decides it's safe to unlock the door?! If it doesn't, it's no use to me!

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