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International Builders’ Show Provides A Stage For Majap Innovation

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) hosted its 2007 International Builders’ Show (IBS) at the Orange County Convention Center, here, Feb 7-10. The show featured keynote speeches from veteran news broadcaster Ted Koppel and Bruce Seigel, marketing director for Ritz Carlton.

The majap category had a considerable presence at IBS, with product showcases from many major manufacturers and brands. Some major players in the majap market introduced additions to their 2007 lineup at the show. Following are some of the highlights:

BSH Home Appliance Corporation’s Bosch brand bowed its Integra Refrigeration units. The Energy Star-qualified models feature a customizable system of modular fresh, frozen and wine units that can be adapted to fit a specific kitchen’s size and shape requirements.

In the laundry realm, Bosch added its energy-saving Ecowash option to its Nexxt line of washers. The Nexxt series was also expanded with the introduction of its 500 plus and 800 Series models.

Thermador, another subsidiary of BSH, appealed to the luxury market with the introduction of its Masterpiece Series and Professional Series wall oven lines which include special features like a speed convection mode and commercial-style rotisserie functions. The manufacturer also bowed new versions from its HD Dishwasher series that had been redesigned to match the new wall ovens.

Whirlpool‘s latest introduction, the centralpark connector, might give consumers new reason to linger in front of the refrigerator, and for once, the reason would have little to do with food. The connector is described as a concept plug-and-play platform that would allow consumers to interact with and exchange electronic devices on the refrigerator door. Citing research of consumers’ entertainment needs, the company said the centralpark connector would clear up countertop space by providing a dock for consumers to use and charge devices like MP3 players, cellphones, satellite radios and more. The company said users will be able to install and remove devices as much as needed. The hub is expected to be available as an exclusive late this year, with a mass rollout planned for spring 2008.

Whirlpool’s newly-acquired Maytag brand celebrated the 100th anniversary of its first washing machine with the launch of Centennial top-load washers and accompanying dryers. The Centennial products are designed with central control knobs and metallic accents, said to be a nostalgic nod to the brand’s history. The line’s washers incorporate commercial-grade stainless steel or porcelain-on-steel wash baskets, depending on the model. Both the washers and dryers feature Maytag’s Smooth Balance Suspension System which is said to keep loads balanced in the washers and provide quiet operation and low vibration in the dryer. Available this month, the washers range in price from $499 to $649 retail and the dryers are available in electric models ranging between $399 and $549 and gas models ranging from $429 to $579.

Finally, GE Consumer and Industrial bowed its GE Profile-branded double oven freestanding range. The product, available in two 30-inch configurations, offers 6.5 total cubic feet of cooking space and allows users to cook two different dishes at two different temperatures at the same time. Both models offer specialized cooking features like a pizza mode and a slow-cook mode. The PB975 model also offers the PreciseAir convection system which GE said is a reversing-fan technology designed to provide optimal heat circulation and temperature accuracy throughout so food cooks evenly. The products are available at retail this month, and each model can be finished in white, bisque, black or stainless steel. Depending on the finish selected, the PB795 is available for suggested prices ranging from $1699 to $1999, and the PB970 is available for between $1499 and $1799.