LG InnoFest 2017 has been opened to the media for the first time this year and Wired to the Web was invited to attend the event in Barcelona. InnoFest is where the Korean company announces what products it has lined up for the year, and this event was specifically for the MEA region. A lot of the products announced are not all going to make its way to South Africa, so I’ve rounded up the things you should know.

Remember that incredibly thin “wallpaper” TV announced at CES? It is part of LG’s W7 Series under its Signature range and is a mere 2.57mm. The bad news is that there is no confirmation it will come to the South African market. LG South Africa tells us this is due to the months of planning it takes before launching a product locally and it would depend on the research carried out to see how viable it would be. What they don’t want to do is bring it to South Africa and it doesn’t sell because it’s too expensive. (Remember the failure that was 3D TVs?) Anyway, it was one of the major attractions at InnoFest and we got to see it up close. It attaches to a wall through a magnetic mat (which can be peeled off) with just a cable for the soundbar. The soundbar is what houses the connectors like the four HDMI ports plus it has WiFi connectivity of course.  I love its clean and minimalist design. My fingers were chunky next to it.

The second most exciting thing I saw was LG’s Smart InstaView door-in-door fridge; it’s next level, yo. The double door fridge has a 29” full HD display that’s WebOS based but runs Windows 10. It features Amazon’s Alexa integration so you can talk to it. The fridge (door) has a web browser to look up recipes, watch videos on how to prepare your meals, do online shopping (where supported), have a smart tag function that lets you know when your groceries are expiring and gives a panoramic view of the inside – the screen transforms into a transparent layer for this. Incredible.

Here are some of the views when using different functions:

Speaking about Alexa integration. LG South Africa’s new managing director CY Kim has told Wired to the Web that Alexa services will “definitely work with SA appliances” when they launch here in 2018. Whaaaat? LG has already integrated Alexa into its Hub Robot, unveiled at CES 2017 last month, and now it’s available on their InstaView fridge. Does this give us confirmation that Amazon will bring the Echo (+ its related services) to South Africa before LG’s appliances get here? Following this very closely, I’ve been wanting an Alexa since it came out. *Alexa, publish my blog post 😂* 

LG has a plan to get all its devices connected to the internet, and believes all devices and home appliances will become intelligent. So I asked Richard Choi, senior vice president and head of cloud centre at LG Electronics how they plan to make this work in Africa, given our limited connectivity. The response was that the company has come out with a smart sensor for non-smart devices for our market. It would, for example, enable one to control an air conditioner or washing machine via an app, through an IR blaster plugged to the device, which makes it smart.

Going back to TVs, LG has announced WebOS 3.5 for its 2017 product lineup, which includes five series’ with ten models. The remote controls for these TVs will have a dedicated Netflix button to go directly to the app; just like DStv’s ShowMax button on its newest decoders. LG South Africa cannot confirm which of the 2017 models are coming to South Africa yet, but when it does launch, it will be linked to Netflix South Africa. The new range should get here in Q2, around April-May onwards. Existing LG Smart TVs that run WebOS 3.0 in South Africa will get the Netflix app.

Lastly, how COOL is this levitating speaker? It was shown off at CES 2017 and LG SA says it will get here late 2017/early 2018 (just depending on approval processes), but it will come to SA. Oh, I want one, just because…