While Whirlpool – the world’s biggest appliance maker, which sells two million washing machines and tumble dryers in America every year – has launched two such appliances, costing $1,699 (£1,054) each, the company says sales have been slow.
“We’re a bit of a hammer looking for a nail,” is how Chris Quatrochi, global director of user experience and connectivity for Whirlpool described the situation.
“Trying to understand exactly the value proposition that you provide to the consumer has been a bit of a challenge,” Quatrochi added.
At the start of this year, Whirlpool showed off a ‘kitchen of 2020’ which, it claimed, would feature the ability to look up recipes via social media, fridges incorporating music players, and voice-command oven controls.
The Washington Post reports, however, that the company is refusing to release sales figures for its ‘smart’ appliances, while a companion iPhone app, offering the chance to delegate laundry chores to particular family members among other features, only reached a lowly 243rd position in the Apple iOS store’s sales chart.
The failure of the technology to grasp the public’s imagination, however, didn’t seriously hold back Whirlpool’s latest quarterly results, the Post noted.
They were two per cent higher in the three months, at $4.8billion (£2.98billion).