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Forget boring ringtones, try alert scents

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By Jenn Harris
Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Finding just the right smartphone notification for a text, email or alarm is a big decision. People that choose animal sounds should have their phones taken away. But what if you could make your phone smell like your favorite food every time you got a text?

Scentee, a Japanese tech brand, has created a product that attaches to your smartphone and releases a scent. The plug-in accessory fits into the headphone socket of a smartphone (iPhone and Android). The device works with a companion app that tells it to spray a burst of fragrance into the air when you receive a message.

Available scents include rose, mint, curry, jasmine, cinnamon roll, lavender, apple, strawberry, ylang-ylang (a fragrant flower), coconut, and if you remember the fried corn-soup fritters at KFC Japan from earlier this year, the corn-soup scent should come as no surprise. There's also a limited-edition Korean BBQ collection with two meat scents and baked potato. A bacon scent is in the works.

The device looks like a small bubble with an LED light. It can be programmed to go off when you receive a social-network notification, text or alarm. It can also be synced to multiple games. Each model can deliver 100 bursts per scent-capsule with refills available for $5.

The Scentee is to launch Nov. 15 on Amazon Japan.

Almost as cool as making the theme song to “The Wire” (the Season 5 version) your ringtone. Almost.

Jenn Harris is a staff writer for Los Angeles Times.

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