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August 03, 2014

Scented Text Message Startup Still Smells Victory After a Taste of Failure

Depositphotos_6859810_xs
 

Vapor Communications, a company that transmits aromas via text message, has failed to meet its $150,000 crowdfunding goal on Indiegogo – but is promising to press on with the money it did raise. 

The technology was partly invented by Harvard University professor David Edwards. It has thus far raised close to 30% of its goal, with 176 backers pledging $47,000 to the project. Despite falling well short of their target, Vapor Communications will continue to work towards a viable commercial version of the technology. Plans are afoot to move their office from Paris to Cambridge later this year, and a company statement said:

“We expect that the evolution of the product over the coming months will increasingly attract the interest of consumers.”

Vapor Communications was founded last September as a way to bring Edwards’ oPhone hardware to market. The oPhone comes with small ‘scent cartridges’ that communicate with an app on the iPhone. Pre-sales were strong, with the $149 retail price seeming just right to enthusiastic food bloggers and others with an interest in sharing scents.

But critics suggest that this need to buy extra hardware is an impediment to success. In a world governed by cloud-based data and in-built apps, the less physical stuff you need to accumulate, the better. The vast majority of smartphone experiences require nothing more than a download, which makes apps like oPhone and oSnap a hard sell.

Nevertheless, the developers’ aims are laudable. It’s true that a huge part of our eating experiences are influenced by aroma, and that there is plenty of interest in communicating smells in the same way audiovisual content is shared. Whether that interest extends beyond those in the food industry to the consumers they serve remains to be seen. If and when then happens, the oPhone will be well placed to meet the demand. For now, lovers of madcap tech concepts can only hope Vapor Communications continues to grow in it’s new UK home. 

October 04, 2011

Missing The Point Of The iPhone 4s Announcement

Ios-5There's been a ton of coverage about today's announcement from Apple of the iPhone 4S - and the lack of an announcement of an iPhone 5. We think most (but not all) commentators aren't paying enough attention to the now free iPhone 3GS (with contract). Think about how many people have Android phone not because they are really interested in an Android phone, but because every carrier has a basket full of free Android phones. Now, when someone walks into an AT&T, Verizon and Sprint store (pending confirm on Sprint 3Gs availability) and they can get a free iPhone 3GS. Yes, it isn't one of the plethora of '4G' questionable battery life Android devices and it is an older product - but we wonder how many consumers will take a free, older iPhone 3GS that runs iOS5 over a free Android running who knows what version of Android.

And we're just talking about the United States.

 

December 17, 2008

Mobile Phone Regulations in the Workplace

With mobile phones such a regular distraction in our everyday lives, aren’t there rules in place to stop our electronic lifelines from interfering with our work?  Our friends at the UK-based blog Mobile Phones & Safety have complied a great commentary on the topic of mobile phones in the workplace, which includes best practices that we believe all offices should take into consideration.

Read the full post here.