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LG promises to make home appliance software upgradeable to take on new tasks

Kids: empty the dishwasher! We can’t, Dad, it’s updating its OS to handle baked on grime from winter curries

As the right to repair movement gathers pace, Korea’s LG has decided to make sure that its whitegoods can be upgraded.

The company today announced a scheme called “Evolving Appliances For You.”

The plan is sketchy: LG has outlined a scenario in which a customer who moves to a locale with climate markedly different to their previous home could use LG’s ThingQ app to upgrade their clothes dryer with new software that makes the appliance better suited to prevailing conditions and to the kind of fabrics you’d wear in a hotter or colder climes. The drier could also get new hardware to handle its new location. An image distributed by LG shows off the ability to change the tune a dryer plays after it finishes a load.

Another scenario suggests adding a filter to an air purifier, so it performs well if you acquire a pet. To get the best from the special purpose hardware, LG suggests also adding a new software program to the gadget to make the best use of the physical filter.

“We want customers to experience the feeling of getting a new washer or refrigerator throughout the entire lifecycle of an LG appliance, not just the first time they bring the item home,” said Lyu Jae-cheol, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solution Company.

Ending planned obsolescence is another ambition.

Just how this will all work was not explained, but more info has been promised for followers of LG Appliances’ Instagram account.

Hopefully Insta users get more than lifestyle shots because there is obvious security risk if evildoers upload something nasty into an appliance. That’s not The Register being paranoid: in 2017 Check Point Software demonstrated LG account takeovers that allowed remote control a robot vacuum cleaner, refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers, and air conditioners. As we reported at the time, “devices could be switched on and off, settings changed and more.”

And as our columnist Mark Pesce has imagined, a compromised connected gas oven could blow up your house.

LG has promised it will announce 20 upgradable appliances during 2022. The Register will try to take one for a spin, because we would like to play with both the security features and – if possible – see if this stuff can help us to brew better tea. ®

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