Amazon might be working on its own smart fridge, according to a new report from Insider. “Project Pulse,” as the project is titled internally, is reportedly being developed by the same Amazon “physical-stores unit” that worked on the company’s high-tech Amazon Go stores.
Project Pulse “is designed to track your inventory and purchase habits, predict what you want, and have it delivered,” Insider writes. The fridge could also track expiration dates, suggest recipes based on the products in your fridge, and offer an easy way to order more food from an Amazon Fresh or Whole Foods grocery store.
Amazon’s foray into fridges has apparently been in the works for at least two years, Insider says, under the leadership of Gopi Prashanth, “a director of computer and artificial intelligence.” There’s no telling if or when Amazon will introduce the product, but it will likely partner with other manufacturers if it does, according to the report.
Smart fridges aren’t a new idea. Samsung and LG have both offered appliances that can identify food, connect to digital assistants like Bixby, and in some cases, even easily order more groceries. If it really is working on a fridge, Amazon’s value add would be its network of grocery stores and the work already done using computer vision to identify grocery items in Amazon Go convenience stores and Dash carts.
Like other product categories the company has barged into (most recently, thermostats), Amazon is also well positioned to undercut its competitors on price and easily integrate another smart home device into its ecosystem after years of development on Alexa. “We don’t comment on rumors or speculation.”
Take this report with a grain of salt, of course. Amazon is big and well-resourced enough to try plenty of things and never release them. Leaks and rumors related to Amazon’s product ambitions have also been hit or miss. Bloomberg predicted the company wouldn’t announce its long-awaited robot at its fall hardware event, but it ultimately did — stoking possible privacy concerns, among plenty of other reactions.
There’s no telling what Amazon will do, but this is the company that surprised everyone with an Alexa-enabled microwave, so what’s another appliance? We’ve already asked for it.