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Majap Marvels

Over the past several years major appliances have enjoyed an increasingly higher profile at International CES, and last week’s show was no exception.

CES’ largest majap proponents – Central Hall anchors LG and Samsung Electronics – once again devoted considerable chunks of real estate to the category, while long-time exhibitor Whirlpool mounted the largest booth in memory at Tech West, where it was suitably surrounded by connected-home vendors.

Other suppliers, including Dacor and Lynx Grills, shared their smart cooking wares at CES Unveiled and the neighboring Renaissance Hotel, respectively.

Driving the coming out party for appliances are three factors:

1. The industry’s cold shoulder toward K/BIS (the Kitchen/Bath Industry Show), once the prime trade show platform for white goods;

2. The greater profitability afforded dealers by majaps, as CE margins continue to compress, and;

3. The Internet of Everything.

On that last point, appliances were one of the earliest and most easily made use-cases for connected-home technology, which was quickly approaching critical mass in Las Vegas.

But besides providing voice-activated cooking instructions, or amending laundry cycles from your smart phone, the latest generation of majaps continued to amaze through sheer engineering brilliance.

Take for example Samsung’s Activewash washer, which features a built-in sink for pre-treating clothes and a wash-time of as little as 36 minutes. Or LG’s front-load Twin Wash system, which offers a mini-washer in lieu of a pedestal, allowing consumers to wash big loads and delicates separately and simultaneously. Plus a host of fashionable, fingerprint-resistant finishes looking to upend stainless steel.

The stakes will be even higher at the 2016 CES when that sleeping giant Haier America is expected to unleash the first major line refresh under recently named CEO Adrian Micu.

The industry has come a long way since the turn of the century, when home appliances were still just big, dumb boxes. I yawned my way through the “sea of white” back then, but now eagerly anticipate the next high-tech iterations, conveniently showcased alongside the latest 4 and 8K displays at CES.