In the world of smartphone applications,
innovation is key, and if there is one thing you can say about the new app called Scentee which is about to be released by a Japanese tech firm - it is most certainly innovative, if not downright bizarre.Picture this - you’re sitting at your office desk and suddenly the scent of beef ribs comes wafting into your nostrils. Does it mean that your colleague has brought in a takeaway lunch box from the restaurant on the corner? No, it’s your wife sending you a text…
Leave it to the Japanese to come up with an idea as wacky as Scentee, the smartphone app that doesn’t vibrate, light up or make a ringtone when someone is sending you a text or an email. Instead, Scentee releases a scent or smell that lets you know you have a message. Talk about your Pavlovian conditioning... Yes, Scentee actually is able to produce smells which are released from capsules inserted into an app that plugs into your phone and which can be customized to produce a scent to alert you when a message comes in or when someone sends a “like” to your Facebook page, for instance.
The app hardware plugs into your phone’s earphone jack and can be used to give an olfactory alert of incoming messages or to simply spray your favorite scent at regular intervals. The range of scent options is fairly impressive. The user can choose from jasmine, strawberries, coffee, coconut - even bacon (our favorite) - among a number of others. When the app is officially released in Japan in mid-November, there will be a special limited edition capsule made available which will produce the scents of beef ribs, buttered potatoes or several other foods.
Scentee works with both iOS and Android devices. It will cost $35 and scent capsules will sell for $5 a piece. Each “flavor capsule” will release a scent around 100 times before it needs replacing.
It remains to be seen how popular the app will become in the international market, but our guess is that it will at least be a hit in Japan, where novel tech products are often greeted with enormous interest - especially ones as bizarre and whimsical as Scentee. Whether or not the rest of the world will decide it needs phones that produce smells is anyone’s guess, but the app is likely to get a fair share of attention. We’ll just have to wait and see if Scentee will be able to produce the sweet smell of success for its developers or will just turn out to be another stinker of a product destined for phone app obscurity.