Control4, Sub-Zero get in on the home automation game

While brands like LG, Samsung, and Kenmore all showed off their own special brand of Jetsonian appliances at CES this year, Sub-Zero was close by touting a stable of 30 automation-ready products and a partnership with Control4 that could make them a contender for home automation domination. Sub-Zero's ZigBee-based system uses preexisting serial ports (initially installed for diagnostic purposes) to connect users to appliances via touchscreens, smart phones, and other enabled devices. The system lacks full control of potentially dangerous appliances like the oven, instead acting as an alert system when, say, your turkey is done roasting, but it does grant complete access to things like your refrigerator or freezer. Other systems might sport increased functionality, like LG's Thinq, which allows users to set oven temperatures remotely, and Samsung's fridge, which lets you tweet from a built-in touchscreen, but Sub-Zero is hoping a second-quarter release will put them at the head of the pack. We'll see if a head start makes a difference in the glacial appliance market, when Samsung rolls out its smart refrigerator this May and Kenmore's system comes to fruition in 2012.