"Imagine this," Adrian King, president of ICL's retail system division said back in 1999. "You're in the kitchen and notice that you're running low on eggs. You swipe the carton past the barcode scanner, which makes a note on its personal ‘shopping list'. When you're ready, you send the list to a nominated supermarket, which can then make up and deliver the order to your home."
Well, it's ten years on Adrian, and we're still imagining. Not because the technology doesn't exist: ICL/Electrolux, LG and Samsung have internet-enabled fridges, and supermarkets are doing well out of internet shopping.
It's simply a case of over-engineering: why pay when you can create a shopping list with a piece of paper and a fridge magnet?
But the fridge makers haven't thrown in the kitchen towel. Over in the UK, supermarket chain Tesco is considering launching a Windows 7 "internet appliance", with touchscreen shopping and barcode scanner, later this year.
The Internet fridge. Simply a case of over-engineering?