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Haier, Conceptworks Chilling Out At CES

Major appliance manufacturer Haier America is crossing industry lines by showcasing a new chest-style freezer alongside its flat-screen and projection TVs at this week’s International Consumer Electronics Show.

Like other CE resources such as Panasonic and Sharp, which have used the Las Vegas venue to showcase their sidelines in microwave ovens, Haier will be wearing both its white and brown goods hats at the Las Vegas Convention Center to highlight its new AccessPlus chest-style freezer.

Although the unit began shipping this quarter, CES provides Haier with another opportunity to target merchants who may miss the more conventional majap forum, the International Housewares Show, which runs Jan. 13-15 in Chicago.

Haier describes the AccessPlus as a dual compartment freezer whose attractive design makes it appropriate for kitchen use as well as its more traditional place in the basement. The top storage compartment of this 4.2 cubic foot unit has a fast freeze option, which drops the temperature to minus 22 degrees F.

The bottom compartment is a 1.6 cubic foot storage drawer that can keep ice cream and other previously frozen items at ready-to-eat temperatures while providing easy access for children.

Features include a removable basket to assist in freezer organization and a power control indicator and adjustable temperature control that allow consumers to regulate the unit. The company also notes that the AccessPlus is more energy efficient than other chest-type freezers since only one compartment is open at a time, allowing less air to escape.

Product manager Pankaj Paleja said the need for freezer units like AccessPlus is growing as consumers are increasingly making cost-efficient bulk buys at warehouse clubs and during supermarket sales.

The unit, which will be on display in booth 1068, carries a suggested retail price of $249 and will soon be available in stainless steel and glass-top lid versions.

Also chilling out at CES is Tempe, Ariz.-based Conceptworks, which is making its Las Vegas debut to spotlight its Ice Tunes radio cooler. The concept product is a 12-pack-capacity insulated ice cooler with an integrated AM/FM radio with stereo speakers and headphone jack. The weather resistant body — available in red, white and blue — is made of durable ABS plastic, and comes with a shoulder strap for easy carrying.

The cooler is also available with an optional weatherband radio that provides access to seven different National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) frequencies for up-to-the-minute forecasts during picnics and outings.

The unit, which can be seen at booth 30333, carries a suggested retail of $39.99, or $47.99 with weatherband option.