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Motorola Granted Patent For 'Smellophone'

You've seen 3-D movies, scratch-'n-sniff perfume ads. Now, it's a mobile phone that scents the air around you as you talk, using the phone's battery to heat a replaceable scent pack. A rose, by any other name....

Thomas Claburn

May 11, 2007

1 Min Read

Touting the future of the mobile phone market at the Software 2007 Conference in Santa Clara, Calif., earlier this week, Motorola CEO Ed Zander made no mention of his company's secret weapon: The smellophone.

Last month, Motorola received a patent for a "Communication device having a scent release feature and method thereof."

The phone becomes what amounts to a wireless-capable Glade PlugIn. It uses the phone's battery to heat a replaceable scent pack to 54 degrees Celsius, which releases the fragrance.

The unit is designed to have a stronger smell than other local odors. "Plug-in units typically provide a stronger scent over a broader area than non-plug-in scented items, given that the scents are activated by the heat energy in the plug-in devices," the patent explains.

Is there a need for a scent-generating phone? Motorola believes so. "Some cellular telephone users are the same individuals who enjoy having plug-in scent units located around their homes, and may miss not having a nice smelling fragrance while they are on the go," the patent states. "Therefore, a need exists for a communication device such as a cellular telephone that can address some of the above-mentioned problems."

No doubt the device, when released, will be re-branded with some clever, vowel-deprived name like Smelr, Flowr, or Whiffr. When might that be? Who knows. Perhaps after the iPhone hysteria dies down.

About the Author(s)

Thomas Claburn

Editor at Large, Enterprise Mobility

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful master's degree in film production. He wrote the original treatment for 3DO's Killing Time, a short story that appeared in On Spec, and the screenplay for an independent film called The Hanged Man, which he would later direct. He's the author of a science fiction novel, Reflecting Fires, and a sadly neglected blog, Lot 49. His iPhone game, Blocfall, is available through the iTunes App Store. His wife is a talented jazz singer; he does not sing, which is for the best.

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