Sharp, Sanyo team on networked home appliances

Sanyo and Sharp on Tuesday announced plans to work together on production of home appliances that can be connected to home electronics networks. The tie-up is part of a larger collaboration between the two companies, announced the same day, in the field of home appliances.

Under the terms of the deal the two companies, which have hitherto been rivals in the home appliance market, will share technologies and strategies. Sharp will lead development on home networking systems for home appliances, while Sanyo will take the lead on environment-friendly technologies such as manufacturing systems and recyclable product materials, the companies said in a statement.

Home networking has been slowly coming to the forefront of home electronics technology in the past few years. It began with systems such as IEEE1394, or FireWire, which is designed to interconnect consumer electronics products, but has recently spread to home appliances.

One month ago, Samsung Electronics took the wraps off a refrigerator that can access the Internet and be used to watch television, while Japan's Matsushita Electric, better known by its Panasonic brand name, announced a smart microwave oven. Matsushita also unveiled a line of smart home appliances earlier this year when it took the wraps off its second-generation HII (Home Information Infrastructure) house, a prototype smart home of the future.

The last year has also seen a string of goods, including a microwave oven, a washing machine and a refrigerator, from LG Electronics that can access the Internet.

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Martyn Williams

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