LG announced a service during CES in January that allows you to text your appliances through the LINE messaging app and now we have seen it in action to give you our thoughts on it.
LG HomeChat only works with the 2014 range of LG smart appliances, which were on display at IFA 2014 in Berlin, so we had a play to see how it worked and how much more fun the service makes washing and cleaning.
There are a couple of apps that help control the appliances, but the HomeChat service itself works through the LINE messaging app as we mentioned before.
Through this app, you can essentially text your appliances to get them to do something. We tried it out with the Hom-Bot Square robotic vacuum cleaner and the latest LG washing machine and we were impressed.
It works quickly, seamlessly and it makes putting a wash on or getting the floor clean a lot more fun. There is very little delay between you sending the initial message, the appliance replying and then beginning its task, plus the messages you get back even have a bit of banter with them too.
You don't need to say much to get the ball rolling. Messaging "Hom-Bot start cleaning" will get you a reply from the Hom-Bot asking if you want the Zig-Zag cleaning mode, to which you'll have to reply yes or no. Once you say yes, it will let you know it is going to start cleaning in the respective mode, ending with "I'll make your floor look shiny and new".
You can save commands too so that you don't need to type the ones you use often every time and instead, you'll just need to go to the Clip Tray and there will be a list of commands you can select, such as "Stop Cleaning".
When it came to the washing machine, we had even more fun. By sending "Fruit Stain" to the machine, it figured out that there was a heavy soiled part on your clothing that it was required to get out and it sent a reply to tell you what plans it had for it, to which you had to reply yes or no.
Everything worked so smoothly it was really very impressive. The machines got on with their tasks as soon as you sent the reply back, to the point where it was almost a little spooky. Who would have thought when texting first launched that it would end up with your appliances.
Both the Hom-Bot and the Smart Washer had their own apps too, which offered you even more control over each device. The Hom-Bot app let you to see the pictures taken by the Hom-Bot on its travels around the floor and you could also see where it was going in real time, as well as set it to go back to its charging station or change the cleaning mode.
The Smart Washer app also had various actions from finding out your most used cycle history and downloading new programmes such as Rainy Season, to selecting a cycle and launching One Touch Washing that makes starting a wash nice and quick.
The LG HomeChat service is great. The downside is that you'll need to replace all your appliances with the latest LG ones, which won't be a cheap task but if you have the cash, then HomeChat is awesome.
It might be a bit gimmicky, but it's certainly fun and if the idea of texting your appliances or remotely controlling them floats your boat, then it works brilliantly from what we could tell from our brief experience and we suspect it will be something that catches on quickly in the future.