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issue: June 2005 APPLIANCE Magazine

Electric Housewares
Blending Brains with Beauty


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by Jill Russell, Associate Editor

A thriving housing market, paired with intelligent and intuitive products that feature colorful and sleek-looking designs, has allowed the electric housewares industry to really heat up.

The Ball Vacuum from Dyson
Radio Frequency Controlled Cooking - Intelon-RF™ from Regal Ware
Multi-Meal Grilling - Salton Inc.’s Next Grilleration™ George Foreman® Grill
Safe, Clean, and Odor-Free Frying - T-FAL's Ultimate EZ Clean Deep Fryer
Dirt-Detecting Vacuum - Panasonic’s 12-A Bagless, Upright Vacuum
Making Waves - Hamilton Beach Wave-Action™ Blenders
Intelligent Toothbrush - Royal Philips Electronics' IntelliClean
Smart Beverage System - Kraft Foods' Tassimo Hot Beverage System
Continuous Steam Machine - Earlex's Steam Caddy

The electric housewares industry is feeling the upswing of a positive housing market. The resurgence of both small and large appliances alike has allowed the appliance industry to take a new approach to product design and aesthetics.

However, looking good isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to electric housewares. Besides an attractive appearance, intelligence is the latest characteristic that’s been added to a long checklist of design improvement. While established veterans are busy integrating new designs and improving product performance, new companies are entering the electric housewares arena. Both are fighting to showcase the latest and greatest in both form and functionality.

Perry Reynolds, vice president of Marketing and Trade Development for the International Housewares Association (IHA), agrees that the electric housewares market is moving toward a higher level of product intelligence. “There is a blending of design across marketplaces. It is much more universal now,” Mr. Reynolds tells APPLIANCE. “You are not seeing much aesthetic design without [the manufacturer] thinking about the way the consumer uses the product. Utility is a very important part of the decisions that manufacturers are making in bringing a product to market.”

And although making products smarter is at the forefront of innovation, a pretty face is never forgotten. While practicality and purpose are guiding housewares product designs, the use of colors and finishes are also continuing to play a pivotal role, forcing appliance makers to combine product appearance with functionality. Mr. Reynolds says that manufacturers are also expanding and tailoring specific color pallets to their specific products. “All bets are off relative to color,” he says. “What used to be a fairly narrow world—that is to say there were a handful of color choices for certain products that made sense—color is being used with design to create differentiation,” he says.

Obvious to attendees at the 2005 International Home and Housewares show, producing innovative appliances that fly off store shelves and into consumer homes is not only about making the product look good, but also about making it smart. And as electric housewares manufacturers have learned from the success of past years, a company’s success is dependent on what the consumer wants and what he or she actually gets. Following are a sampling of the newest electric housewares products, whose creators have listened to demands and created a combination of form and function into their small appliances.

 

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