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Whirlpool Refrigerator with door-mounted tablet PC

Data Evolution will use Windows CE to build a tablet PC designed for refrigerator door mounting. The “Clio Vu” PC will work with Whirlpool’s already-shipping GD5VVAXT refrigerator, which boasts a door-mounted “centralpark” port suitable for DVD players, photo-frames, satellite radios, and other devices, according to Whirlpool.

Previous Internet-enabled refrigerators have received a frosty reception from consumers, who apparently believe that add-on electronics will be broken or obsolete long before the appliance comes to the end of its life. Whirlpool‘s response is the “centralpark” interface, a powered accessory port located on the top edge of the GD5VVAXT’s freezer compartment door. This allows devices to be attached to the refrigerator, yet remains hidden when not in use, according to the company.

Already available to interface with this $2000 refrigerator is Ceiva’s $249 digital picture frame, which features an 8-inch screen, a built-in card reader, and WiFi. Later this year, Brandmotion will release a iPod dock that offers built-in stereo speakers, holds any model iPod securely, and can withstand frequent opening and closing of the freezer, according to Whirpool.

The most dramatic add-on, however, will be the forthcoming Clio Vu, a convertible tablet computer. When this is mounted on the computer, users will be able to interact with it via its touchscreen. But, adds Whirlpool, the WiFi-equipped device can be easily removed and used elsewhere.

Though specifications of the Clio Vu have not been finalized, Whirlpool says it is a version of Data Evolution’s Clio NXT (pictured at right). Originally announced in 2004, the NXT features a 10.4-inch “SwingTop” screen, for use as a notebook computer with full QWERTY keyboard, or as a tablet PC. The NXT will be apparently be readied for kitchen duty in part via installation of Cozi, a calendaring application aimed at families. Cozi (pictured below) allows storing tasks and shopping lists, and can synchronize schedules with Microsoft Outlook. It also permits messaging family members via email or SMS from within the application, according to Cozi.

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Whirlpool, Refrigerator, Door, Mout, Door-mounted, Table, PC, Tablet PC,  GD5VVAXT

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