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Electronics

No bells and whistles: Panasonic cuts down on appliance functions

Japanese electronics giant finds consumers don't want complex features

New rice cookers from Panasonic let users swap functions with their smartphones. (Photo courtesy of Panasonic)

OSAKA -- Panasonic will offer rice cookers and microwave ovens that let users add functions via the internet later, in response to customer feedback revealing that many of the features packed into such products go unused.

Customers who buy the new rice cookers choose three modes from a lineup of 25 -- including brown rice and rice for freezer storage -- and install them using smartphones. Just like with smartphone apps, users can swap functions based on family composition and lifestyle.

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