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Maytag’s Glimpse Of White Goods’ Future

ATLANTA -Just as concept cars are the centerpiece of auto shows, prototype white goods also get the spotlight at majap trade events.

Last month’s International Builders Show, held here at the Georgia World Congress Center, was no different. This year, Maytag took the prize for its dazzling collection of Jetson’s -like household contraptions, which included a portable washer/dryer, a freestanding range and a psychedelic refrigerator.

Not surprisingly, all of the gizmos were Web-enabled; amazingly, however, each is based on currently available technology.

Others at the Builders Show focused on near-term innovations, all with an Internet accent. Whirlpool, for example, highlighted a portable Web tablet that can be secured to a refrigerator and controls myriad household functions.

Similarly, GE demonstrated a Web-enabled version of its new Arctica refrigerator that is not yet available, but is clearly a key part of the company’s direction.