Samsung gives in and serves up built-in Alexa in new Family Hub fridges

Samsung today announced the sixth-generation Family Hub smart fridge, and with it, we're getting a big addition. While Family Hub refrigerators have primarily supported Samsung's Bixby and SmartThings platforms in the past, this is the first generation that will come with Amazon's Alexa built-in. That, obviously, gives users more flexibility in how they integrate a Family Hub fridge with their smart home setup.

Samsung also says that the new Family Hub comes with a redesigned user interface touting four customizable screens centered around different themes. First is smart home, which is obvious, but we'll also have different screens for entertainment, family, and cooking. For instance, users can post notes and videos for family members on the family screen or use the cooking screen to help them develop weekly meal plans.

According to today's announcement, the new Family Hub will ship with support for the SmartThings Cooking platform, accessible either through the cooking screen on the Family Hub itself or through the SmartThings Cooking app on Android or iOS. Samsung says that SmartThings Cooking can help users create meal plans based on everyone's preferences, and once that's done, it can add the ingredients you'll need to a shopping list.

As with previous generations, Samsung has a lineup of shopping partners that offer direct grocery purchases via the Family Hub, and today it's adding Perdue Farms to the list. Of course, Alexa support allows you to tap into Alexa's various skills while you're using the Family Hub, and Samsung will even give you the choice of using Alexa or Bixby as standalone AI assistants, though you can also use them both at the same time.

Built-in Alexa support is a pretty big deal for the Family Hub, with Samsung announcing availability for the sixth-gen software on "the widest range of refrigerators." There are also some software enhancements inbound for Family Hub refrigerators dating all the back to the second-gen models, but it's unclear if those are getting built-in Alexa support as well or if they're just getting the Family Hub's redesigned UI.