back to article Just what the world needs: Android in the rice cooker

Less than a fortnight into 2013, we have a candidate for the year’s silliest product: a networked, Android-sporting rice cooker. Readers will remember some chilling demonstrations during 2012: the vulnerability of pacemakers to outside attack, for example (insulin pumps were already compromised in 2011), while McAfee (the …

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  1. Andrew Jones 2

    Awfully cynical point of view there....

    What could possibly go wrong with driverless cars?

    What could possibly go wrong with Android powered ovens?

    What could possibly go wrong with AI infused devices / robots?

    I'd be much more concerned about the proliferation of WiFi enabled light switches and the likes - I see major problems looming on the horizon for that type of kit....

    1. Thorne

      If it did more than cook rice then maybe.

      This is right up there with the internet connected fork...

      1. Ken Y-N
        WTF?

        The internet fork...

        Just yesterday I saw on the telly that at CES there is a diet fork that vibrates if you eat too fast, and it of course comes with the obligatory iPhone app to upload your eating habits to the cloud.

        1. Ole Juul Silver badge

          Re: The internet fork...

          I'm waiting for the internet connected socks, with separate IPv6 addresses for left and right. Comes with an app that tells you when it's time to wash them and, optionally (but the default), posts it to Facebook.

          1. Affian

            Re: The internet fork...

            Will it tell me where the other one is?

          2. Ken Y-N
            Thumb Down

            Re: The internet socks...

            We've already had that one:

            http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/09/28/auto_pairing_socks/

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: The internet fork...

          I eagerly await the Rhod Gilbert comedy routine, along the lines of his girlfriend buying him a 200 quid toothbrush, LOL

          I wonder if it will include "Fork off".

        3. Thorne

          Re: The internet fork...

          "Just yesterday I saw on the telly that at CES there is a diet fork that vibrates if you eat too fast, and it of course comes with the obligatory iPhone app to upload your eating habits to the cloud."

          And it links to facebook so if you eat too much it changes your status to "John Smith is a fatty fat fat"...

      2. Euripides Pants Silver badge

        my forks are all wireless.....

    2. LarsG
      Meh

      Takes

      Less than 20 minutes to cook rice.

      If you need it quicker buy the ready made stuff.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge
        Headmaster

        Re: Takes

        Depends upon the type of rice. Basmati rice takes about 12 minutes, brown rice takes about 30 minutes, long grain or wild rice is inbetween, depends how much it has been washed or polished.

      2. Lamont Cranston
        Happy

        Re: Takes

        I have a rice cooker at home and, whilst it's certainly no quicker than using the hob, the results are better - no more stodgy, overcooked rice, no pan boiling over, pre-marked lines so I don't need to measure the water, and no need for a timer.

      3. Bumpy Cat
        Thumb Up

        Re: Takes

        A proper rice cooker cooks the rice and then keeps it warm - ours can keep rice good for 72 hours, with a little digital counter on the front to tell you how long it's been. This is with Asian sticky rice, though - I haven't been brave enough to test with long-grain or Basmati yet.

    3. Geoff Campbell
      Boffin

      Yeah...

      ...'cos human driven cars have proved to be so very, very safe, haven't they?

      GJC

    4. TheOtherHobbes

      I for one

      welcome our new glutinously fluffy overlords.

  2. AlexS
    Terminator

    Er an android controlling rice cooker.

    Sold.

  3. AlexS
    Terminator

    Er an android in the rice cooker.

    I'm selling the movie rights.

  4. Tom 35 Silver badge

    So

    Soon we really will have the pot calling the kettle black.

    1. Thorne
      Terminator

      Re: So

      Wait until they have lasers...

    2. auburnman
      Joke

      Re: So

      Special offer in the Daily Mail; Collect tokens, get your free EDL pot. Comes pre-programmed with a rich vocabulary for describing non-whites, Eastern Europeans and appliances made in Asia.

  5. JaitcH
    Happy

    Cooking with Google: one of the simplest appliances possible ...

    The Japanese invented the electric rice cooker, and Apple copied their safety connector. Cooking rice is not such an easy job.

    Don't believe me?

    Take a cup of rice, place in microwave proof dish, wash the dust off and leave about one-half inch of water above the rice. Cook for 10 minutes at 80% power.

    Remove, stir rice, and leave standing. The rice will continue to 'cook; and absorb water for about 5 minutes.

    Just think - all this is done automatically, by your 'simple' rice cooker. And it gets it perfect most every time!

    1. Daniel Palmer

      Re: Cooking with Google: one of the simplest appliances possible ...

      >The Japanese invented the electric rice cooker, and Apple copied their safety connector.

      I'm not sure the magnetic connector was invented for rice cookers as many people seem to think. We have an induction hot plate and hot water pot with the same connector. Japan has a bunch of standard connectors that I haven't seen anywhere else.. for example if you rent an apartment that isn't furnished you probably won't get any lights in the rooms. Instead you get a modified AC socket with locking supports in the ceiling.

      >Cooking rice is not such an easy job.

      It's not so hard to get edible cooked riced but the Japanese can be very anal about their rice which is why there are rice cookers for about 50 quid for the "don't cares" and several hundred quid cookers for the people that want the "traditional cooked in a massive pot by a jiji" flavour. Considering there are hot water pots that can be remote controlled so that your elderly parents don't go without hot water (saw it advertised on TV yesterday) I don't see a rice cooker with Android as being all that "weird".

    2. davemcwish

      Re: Cooking with Google: one of the simplest appliances possible ...

      @JaitcH "Cooking rice is not such an easy job" Really ? 8 mins in a pan of boiling water works for me every time

      1. Andrew Moore Silver badge

        Re: Cooking with Google: one of the simplest appliances possible ...

        For me- 30 minutes slow cook- 1 part rice to 2 parts water.

        1. Martin
          Happy

          Re: Cooking with Google: one of the simplest appliances possible ...

          Rip the top off the packet, two minutes in the microwave and pour onto the plate works for me....

  6. Best Before:
    Terminator

    I for one..

    Welcome our Android Rice Cooking Overlords.

    Skynet Rice Cookers FTW

  7. Ken Y-N
    Alert

    I just created this account to say this...

    Android is in the smartphone, not in the rice cooker, and the only communication the cooker has with the outside world is through an NFC chip that pairs with your smartphone to download cooking program settings and upload usage information.

    As for a rice cooker being simple, there's differences for white rice or brown, keeping it warm all evening, designer burnt bits, adding veggies to the pot, adding shop-bought rice-mix flavours (frozen and vacuum-sealed), etc, etc.

    Indeed, one of the use cases is buying food with a QR code on the box, popping onto the scanned website to get the ideal recipie, then bonk-to-scoff.

    (And yes, I do work there...)

    1. Daniel Palmer

      Re: I just created this account to say this...

      I think a lot of reporting on stuff "in Japan!" is intentional mis-reporting to make things seem more weird/unusual than they actually are.

    2. frank ly Silver badge

      Re: " bonk-to-scoff"

      I'm having mental images that I don't want to talk about. Thank you.

      1. Androgynous Crackwhore
        Gimp

        Re: " bonk-to-scoff"

        I'll buy one :D

        Anyone for special risotto?

    3. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

      Re: As for a rice cooker being simple...

      Agreed. Also, they can be set like alarm clocks to ensure the rice is ready when you want it. I wouldn't be without my Zojirushi cooked rice at 7:00 each morning.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Devil

      Re: I just created this account to say this...

      Oh god.... fuck.

      "“Panasonic’s Android-controlled SR-SX2 rice cooker lets users search for recipes on their Android phones and then transmit them to the cooker. It also provides information such as how much electricity it has used,”"

      Lays face on keyboard and groans......

      Timer, Temp, and a loud - "Ping!" when done.

      Some of these fucking idiots should be taught how to cook, "Joan of Arc" style - "Here, let me show you where to stick the thermometer."

      Satan - because she blazingly approves.

    5. Eddy Ito Silver badge

      Re: I just created this account to say this...

      Ok, I get it but 600 smacks is a bit much considering my Tatung was only 100. That's a pretty heavy premium for bonking a QR.

    6. laird cummings
      Thumb Down

      Re: I just created this account to say this...

      Sweet gods - It's *rice.* Any moron can cook it, if they bother to learn. Which learning takes about two minutes.

      1. heyrick Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: I just created this account to say this...

        Sweet gods - it's <insert food here>!

        Any fool can cook stuff badly. You can do a prime steak in a microwave. However, those who appreciate our meat, rice, food will want to do it properly. This isn't being ped pedantic or anal, it's just not being willing to put up with rubbish.

  8. Androgynous Crackwhore
    Headmaster

    The kids today!

    while McAfee (the company, not the nominative fugitive)

    Oh dear, oh dear... only a hapless blogger for El Reg could so thoroughly balls up such a golden opportunity to deploy eponymous.

    In the article, McAfee (the company) is the nominative case as it's McAfee (the company) you're describing as having "maintained its long campaign..."

  9. Dana W
    Happy

    It's nice to know that Android gets really dumb accessories too.

  10. Mikel

    You laugh

    What I want most of my modern science and appliances is that whether I am there or not, they obey me. I bought them. I own them. It is my right. If I'm bringing home a notable personage I need to be able to tell my home to light the top lights, dim the bottom lights, light the driveway strobe and turn off the farking dishwasher so we can talk. APICs are the slaves or the modern era, and we need not feel guilt about imposing on their needs.

    A few years hence when AIs are given sufferance and protection, that is a different question.

    1. It wasnt me
      Happy

      Re: You laugh

      "What I want most of my modern science and appliances is that whether I am there or not, they obey me. I bought them. I own them."

      No no no no no no no no........ That was then. Now your $600 just gets you a license to cook rice. Dont try and cook any for someone else or the MPAA / RIAA will ........... :-)

  11. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
    Big Brother

    The new Yakuza offer you cannot refuse...

    "You better pay up or our hacker will make your rice cooker EXPLODE!"

  12. Adam 1 Silver badge

    I think the question we all want answered

    Will it blend?

    1. hplasm Silver badge

      Re: I think the question we all want answered

      No, but it does cook.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Windows rice cooker...

    ... keeps serving potatoes, because it knows that's what you really wanted.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Windows rice cooker...

      And the Apple rice cooker does exactly the same as the android one, but costs twice as much.

      1. Mike Brown

        Re: The Windows rice cooker...

        The RIM version is currantly delayed, but will rock your socks off when it does arrive

      2. Thorne

        Re: The Windows rice cooker...

        "And the Apple rice cooker does exactly the same as the android one, but costs twice as much."

        You forgot it only cooks organic fair trade certified iRice available from your local iStore

    2. hplasm Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: The Windows rice cooker...

      Raw potatoes though- where's the bloody start button?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The Windows rice cooker...

      And the latest version serves it up in little square shapes whether you like it or not, and you have to guess how to use the bloody thing.

      1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

        Re: ...latest version serves it up in little square shapes...

        They're called waffles.

  14. DrXym Silver badge

    It's easy to be cynical

    But I could see a huge benefit to appliances - TVs, lights, washing machines, cookers etc. offering remote monitoring and / or control interfaces. They don't need to be running a full blown OS underneath that but just providing the data in an industry standard protocol over bluetooth could mean that your phone / tablet / thing bolted on the wall could be used in all sorts of cool ways.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's easy to be cynical

      You meant providing the data in an advertising industry standard protocol.

  15. Fuzz

    rice cooker

    a traditional rice cooker, without any fancy features, is one of the most simple devices you'll find in a kitchen. It's basically just a kettle with the thermostat set just above 100°C. Whilst the water is boiling the temperature won't go over 100, as soon as the water is gone the temperature rises and the cooker turns off.

    Until the rice cooker can load it's own rice and water I see no need for it to be controlled by anything other than plugging it into the wall.

    1. Oninoshiko

      Re: rice cooker

      I think you have a different definition of "traditional" then I do. My grandmother's is a metal pot with a wood lid. It doesn't have a heating element of any kind. I think it's steel, but here is a similar cast-iron pot:

      http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/buk-r/item/031-025/

  16. g e
    Facepalm

    What clown would buy that? And at that price?

    mind you. If it were made by apple...

    It probably takes as long to twat about finding the 'recipe' (think just add a coupla cardomom and a pinch of turmeric for pilau rice, too hard to remember?) and setting the damned thing up as it does to boil a kettle and chuck the water and extras into a pot with a fistful of basmati.

    Mind you, we did have the Segway stomach emptier for the terminally lardy the other day I spose... Can't help thinking tech is making 20% of the human race smarter and 80% dumber. Still, gives 20% of us a market for the weird shit we invent I guess.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My parents got one of them fuzzy logic rice cookers as a gift from their Chinese student lodgers. It does make very good rice which is 'chopstick friendly'. Perhaps an android one would let us change the language, so we know what is happening. Rather than the little house with 3 sticks over it is flashing....

  18. JulianB
    FAIL

    "Lets users search for recipes on their Android phones and then transmit them to the cooker"

    And then what? The rice cooker reads the recipe, assembles the ingredients, skins, chops and browns the chicken, peels, slices and adds the onion... (depending on the recipe, obviously)?

    How can it do anything more complex than "Boil the rice currently inside you, using the water also currently inside you."?

    1. Pen-y-gors Silver badge

      But first...

      before it skins and chops the ingredients it should be able to order them from Tesco.

      (or even easier, just phone an order to the nearest takeaway...)

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Context is everything

    I used to work for a large Japanese electronics firm.

    The catalogue for the staff shop (in Japan) had pages-and-pages of different ricer cookers models. And that was just he ones they made.

    They are a major small-white-goods item in japan. A "smart" one makes perfect sense in that market.

    But maybe not in Barnsley. (Or where-ever.)

  20. ratfox Silver badge
    Stop

    There is no android in the rice cooker

    You just control the rice cooker with an android app…

  21. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. The FunkeyGibbon
      Facepalm

      Re: Linux / Android in everything that's pricey

      Java is in a lot a pricey items. Doesn't mean it's good.

      Personally I like Linux but fanbois will be fanbois. Bloody annoying.

  22. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Mark .

      Re: Continuing windows cooker theme - WINDOWS 8 COOKER

      Don't joke - my TV now needs to reboot to install updates, and my Android Galaxy Nexus phone takes longer to boot than my Windows laptop, I'm sure we'd have laughed at that idea 10-15 years ago too!

      (I'm not sure why you specify Windows though - it's a certain other, mobile, OS that seems to have trouble with multitasking. And as much as I love Linux, Ubuntu has the same issue with always needing updates and rebooting, more so than Windows, as do Android and my TV.)

      1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  23. RiceIsNice

    Kill this with some pie!

    Someone please take a $50 Black and Decker (or what ever the Brits have on the cheap) with a raspberry Pi and blow this thing out of its rice filled water! :)

  24. laird cummings
    Terminator

    Doomed, I tells ya...

    What happens when you cooker gets hacked? Does SkyNet then live in your kitchen appliances?

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    $600 that is quite a lot of foreign domestic workers

    ... just sayin!

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Android is a name to slap on things to sell them. It's worse than sticking an Apple logo on stuff to sell it.

    I don't know why they don't rename Linux and call it Android. Then perhaps Linux on the desktop would take off.

  27. RNIB Innovation

    Not so fast ...

    This kind of integration of Android OS with a domestic appliance could be extremely useful to people with disabilities. For example, a visually impaired person can interact easily with later versions of Android OS, which could make it possible for them to lead more independent lives. We should be very careful when we rubbish innovation, as the real benefits might not be readily apparent, and may not be what the manufacturer even had in mind!

  28. h3

    Must be better than the iGrill (It is ~ 6 times the price so by Apple logic must be 6 times as good.)

  29. FanMan
    Trollface

    I remember...

    Bernard Levin devoted a whole Times page to fulminating against Sony's then novel idea of a shower radio. I immediately went out and bought one. It's still going strong, having comfortably outlived its palaverous detractor.

    Just saying.

  30. Affian

    Network addressed?

    It had better use IPv6, I don't want to have to NAT my rice cooker.

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