The home appliances company will sell 13 different types of voice-controlled air conditioner under its Daiseikai Voice ND Series, with prices ranging from 210,000 yen to 330,000 yen ($2,730 to $4,290).
Air conditioner prices have increased recently because of rising rare earth prices. Toshiba has raised the cost of its new line of air conditioners by about 10,000 yen ($130).
“We’d like people to view this price increase as paying for the added value of being voice controlled,” Toshiro Ishiwatari, president of Toshiba Home Appliances, told a product release gathering in Tokyo on Monday.
Toshiba Home Appliance’s new air conditioners will be capable of recognizing 26 verbal commands in Japanese, each relates to a particular function, such as switching to power-saving mode or going fully automatic. In the power-saving mode, the air conditioners use up to a maximum of 55% less electricity than ordinary coolers and consume as much energy as an electric fan.
Voice commands are made to a voice controller with built-in microphone and speakers, which uses infrared to send a signal to operate the air conditioner.