A woman looks at an Eco-Fresh fridge system at the booth of Panasonic during the second press day of the consumer electronics trade fair "Internationale Funk Ausstellung " in Berlin Sept. 4, 2014. (AFP/Tobias Schwartz)
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It's long been the stuff of science fiction, but tech giants hope the "smart home," where gadgets talk to each other and the fridge orders the milk, will soon become reality.Industry titans such as Google, Samsung and Apple have been battling for an early lead in the race to create the Internet-connected household, a market they expect to grow into the next multibillion-dollar tech revolution.To add innovation muscle to its smart home push, Samsung in August bought the U.S. startup SmartThings, which is developing apps to link up electric devices and household appliances, for a reported 200 million dollars.The move came after Google in January paid a jaw-dropping 3.2 billion dollars for Nest Labs, which makes fire alarms and sophisticated thermostats that save energy and can detect whether people are at home or out.
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