Scentee wants to expand your smartphone horizons and add smell to the senses your phone already stimulates. The plug-in accessory attaches to headphone socket on both iPhones and Android smartphones and, when told to by the companion app, releases a burst of fragrance, paired with a customizable LED light. It's ridiculous, but that's very much part of the Japan-made accessory's charm. The most important factor here is arguably the range of scents available, and Scentee hasn't held back. In no particular order, aromas include rose, mint, cinnamon roll, coffee, curry, jasmine, ylang-ylang, lavender, apple, coconut, strawberry and er, corn soup. And that's not all. They're joined by a special limited edition Korean BBQ collection that'll be available on November 15 and includes three extra 'flavors': two different type of meat and, well, baked potato. This bundle's particularly skewed towards Japanese customers, although we're already infatuated with some of the future scents currently being developed, like bacon and even more fruit smells. We've sniffed our way through several options during our time with the accessory -- the video (and more details) are right after the break.
Scentee smelling accessory hands-on
The final retail model we handled has been in development since 2010 and early models were far more bulkier affairs, using mechanical parts to deliver a burst of scent, rather than the high-frequency waves of the accessory you see here. Shift, the company behind Scentee, brought out one of these prototypes for us to use, replete with a pre-Lightning iOS port. The early design was more than a little off-putting, spraying with a little too much force -- we might have used the word insecticide while discussing it. One of the final prototypes, which appeared at this year's MWC, slimmed down the design, but the final antenna-like design, thicker at 31mm deep, came about to ensure that the device had both enough power (and bursts of fragrances) to keep customers happy. The customizable LED light spreads out from both the nozzle and the circumference, adding a sweet ambient light effect when we dimmed the lights and the food-based perfume is released. Communication with the accessory is done through the headphone socket, not Bluetooth as you'd might expect, and as there's not enough power there to charge the accessory, it has a micro-USB port to top up the battery.
The current model will delivery 100 bursts per capsule, and additional ones can be bought for $5 / 500 yen a piece, online. While most curiosities we spot in Japan have little to no chance of appearing elsewhere, Scentee will launch both the accessory and additional capsules on Amazon Japan and, we've been told, will be selling through to US customers. Beyond early-adopter curiosity, the company is in discussions with multiple companies to strike up partnerships -- especially in the fragrance and food industry, where promotions could deliver perfume samples, tease new food products, or simply tie-in with branded scent capsules.
The company is also aiming to open its SDK and further expand its software capabilities. At the moment, scent release can be added to social networks, SMS, games and alarms, and developers are also working to tie-in location-based release. Hardware development, meanwhile, is aimed at further miniaturization and (if possible) the ability to embed multiple scents into a single accessory. Visit the source for Scentee's baffling mini-drama promo video. The accessory launches on November 15.
Hiromu Tsuda contributed to this report.