LG’s HomeChat review

I remember reading that in terms of UX Design, the ultimate interface would resemble to… void. “The best interface is invisible”. Intangible. Not that it aims at just being so, but that it collides seamlessly with your world. Smartwatches are one way to do so. They do keep a little bit of friction away and have  better results that your phone would regarding certain activities.

There are good or bad attempt at providing the next HCI experience such as Leap Motion and Thalmic Labs’ Myo. They are or will be good at what they do, but to me, they’re dragging along friction. And lot of it. The user has to perform not so natural gestures (partially causes an increase in cognitive load).  It reflects on the endurance in use. I.e.  Extending and waving your arms for a long period of time, twisting your fingers to play/pause/rewind. Those aren’t things we are used to do, let alone issue on the accuracy in detection and input of the system.

Thalmic Labs’ Myo: It reads complex electric signals transmitted from your brain to the tip of your fingers, that differentiates them and turns them into software inputs.
Leap Motion: Two webcams paired with an IR detector that detects hands and only hands thanks to their algorithm. Some have coupled them with Oculus VR device for enhanced experience. Google it, it’s amazing.

Depending on whether you clicked on invisible or intangible, you might have ended up reading this or that. If not, I strongly recommend you have a read. To further, I also recommend this last one before making the point of this article.

LG HomeChat

Every once in a while, a manufacturer pushes a new technology onto the market, attempting at creating new usages, new habits, new trends. Samsung’s Edge, Google Glass, Microsoft’s Tiles, Apple’s 3D Touch. Although all of them aren’t new concepts at all, they do benefit from their respective brands helping the adoption of new usage.

Have you ever wished you could check what’s going on with your dishwasher by texting it? LG has the solution for you. Check this out:

While it seems all fun and cool, here’s a list of what bugs me:

  1. The use of LINE Messenger. For starters, I doubt customers will buy only LG appliances. Second, the insertion of a 3rd party soft inside a given system that aims at impacting lifestyles is, in my opinion, the worst way you could do it. Even though it’s an app that can be downloaded from any App Store onto any mobile, freeing users from the joug of LG’s phone. I mean it’s LG, they could have come with a in-house piece of App.
  2. The mere fact that you have to text for an info. Why not give access to it directly, in the shape of infographics, scheduled notifications, etc…
  3. You can even upload a picture from your smartphone and display it on your fridge.

I have read a lot about it and I still don’t find it attractive as a service/product. I understand LG’s angle, I envision what it could change but I don’t understand why the firm chose to do it that way.

The idea of “texting my fridge if there’s still milk” sounds so irrelevant as in the way I’d interact with my home electronics. Using a third party app. Let me illustrate it this way:

Apple’s 3D Touch. The device’s layers can now detect three levels of push: Tap, peek and pop. While it introduces new usage, its core concept is nothing new.

When Tim Cook introduced the 3D Touch feature of its iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s+, I couldn’t help it and think of something I read not too long ago here. Many competitors had similar technologies before. Even today, there is a piece of code buried deep inside Android that aims at detecting variations in depth of push onto mobile screens. Unfortunately, Android’s Google property. It means that before mobile device manufacturers and 3rd parties developers can exploit that code, there are all kind of layers in between to be breached through. As for its current state, if unveiled, the feature will only be reserved for stocked apps, if not Google’s only.

That right there, is why I can’t wrap my head around LG’s design strategy. To use a 3rd party apps as the primary touch-point with their system, let alone texting a robot. I mean, really?

from Tumblr http://bit.ly/1Qdamoo

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