Samsung's Killer Idea: The Refrigerator With a Smart Screen and Apps

We asked Samsung for its smartest new invention. This is what they gave us.

615 refridgerator.jpg

The problem: The refrigerator is one of the last bastions of pre-digital technology. It's a centerpiece of family life, holding notes, phone numbers, schedules and appointments with magnets and a little bit of strategic wedging. But just about everything else in our lives is digital. Why are fridges stuck in the 20th century?

Where great ideas really come from. A special report

The idea: The Samsung LCD Refrigerator is essentially a tablet computer with apps living on a fridge door. It's not about checkingThe eight available apps -- Memos, Photos, Epicurious, Calendar, WeatherBug, AP, Pandora, and Twitter -- synch with your computers. Load a family album on your laptop, and you can review it minutes later over the ice machine. Glance at the weather as your take out your milk. Check Google Calendar as you grab your eggs. Check out photos while you're preparing dinner as a family. And scroll through epicurious.com recipes if you're stuck with leftover turkey and don't want to make another sandwich.

The potential: It's more of a revolution of convenience than a revolution of technology. The insight is that it bringing news, music, recipes and photos to the kitchen, which is the center of family life and activity for millions of households, in a smart digital way. Mobile devices can get lost or occupied by sisters or husbands. The upside of a smart screen on your fridge is that the apps never walk through the door.

615 Final LCD Screen Shot.jpgWant to share your company's best idea -- or your own! -- for our Best Ideas series? Leave your idea in the comment section or email me a description and a photograph at dthompson@theatlantic.com.

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The Best Ideas Series

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Intel: The Ultra-Efficient Processor of the Future

Caltech: Artificial Leaves That Turn Sunlight Into Fuel

IBM: The $100 DNA-Sequencing Machine

GE: A Real-Time Energy Dashboard For Your House

Google: A Personal Translator on Your Phone

Facebook: A Social Solution to Password Security

Under Armour: The World's Smartest Shirt

Siemens: The World's 1st Hybrid Electric Airplane

Genentech: Chemotherapy Without Side-Effects

PARC: A Better, Faster, Stronger Internet

Andreessen Horowitz: A Camera That Focuses After You Click

Duke University: A Cancer Flashlight

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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