We all know the smell of bacon, eggs and coffee in the morning are great for getting sleepy teenagers or night owls out of bed, but what about using scents to signal a missed call, email, text message or other smartphone notification? A new Japanese smartphone accessory "Scentee" is bringing scented notifications to the noses of smartphones users next month and though it may seem a bit crazy (OK, a LOT crazy), scented smartphone notifications are just one more novelty gadget you can add to a list of seemingly inane Japanese innovations out there.
So what's this scented notification gadget all about? The plug-in "Scentee" accessory is a small, white gadget about the size and shape of a ping-pong ball and, when attached to the headphone socket of your Android smartphone or Apple iPhone, it releases a scent each time a new notification comes in. The Scentee scented notification system is customized by using the accompanying app, allowing users to set not only a wide variety of scents for their notifications, but also have a colorful LED light of their choice blink as well upon receiving an email, text or other smartphone notification.
The Scentee notification app can be programmed to use up to 12 different scents including some very enticing sounding food-scented notifications like bacon, coffee curry, cinnamon roll, baked potato and Korean barbecue. But food scented notifications aren't all. In addition, Scentee has a number of other desirable scents such as rose, mint, jasmine, lavender.
If you are thinking to yourself "Who would buy this?" you are probably not alone, but according to Engadget, it seems the plug-in accessory will be targeted towards Japanese customers mainly, among whom, the new scented notification accessory might just be a winner (after all, they think carrying around mini animals on key chains is cool too). While the Scentee accessory is $35, users will have to regularly replace the scent capsules, which run roughly $5 each for 100 scented bursts or notifications.
Though I personally would never purchase one of them, the concept behind the Scentee brings a number of questions to my mind. For example, how strong is the scent and how quickly does it disappear? I, for one, may miss a lavender-scented email notification if I already had five scented notifications just before it, or if I'm roaming through a candle store. The other problem I foresee is incompatible scent combinations. I mean, while the idea of having cinnamon rolls, mint and rose scents coming at me for notifications may seem kind of appealing, all three within a short space of time just might be enough to nauseate me (as if that iOS 7 3D parallax motion isn't enough!).
Despite my qualms, the company that manufactures Scentee seems to be optimistic about the new product as they are currently in talks with various companies who may be interested in having their scents branded as notifications. The company is specifically looking to the food and fragrance industry for possible partnerships (as if magazine, television, internet and billboard ads aren't enough, what about McDonald's marketing to your nose every time you miss a call?) I can see some really interesting psychological studies unfolding here. By the same token it would be curious to see how many obese Japanese people using Scentee will suddenly emerge.
Of course Scentee is thinking more optimistically than I. They are predicting scents could have the opposite effect upon users' waistlines. In fact, one of the promotions for the products showcases a young woman on a diet who uses Scentee to curb her craving. The video suggests that by allowing Scentee to emit a tasty meat scent while you munch on lettuce just may satisfy your desire to eat the meaty bacon treat itself. In my mind if that logic actually worked, then every time I go to a buffet I should be completely happy with stuffing my head with salad rather than all-you-can-eat baby back ribs.
Scentee currently works with a wide variety of notifications including, social networks, text messages, games and alarms. The company is currently looking at opening its SDK in order to expand the software capabilities and is set to launch November 15, in Japan, though some around the web claim that Amazon will have the plug-in scent accessory available to US customers as well. To see Scentee in action, check out the video clips below and then share your thoughts in the comments below.
Watch: Scentee Scented Smartphone Notifications Helps Girls On Diets And Poor College Students
Watch "Scentee: My Scent"