Gizmag: Retailers, hotels and real estate agents have been using aromas to entice us to part with our cash for years now and there have even been a few attempts to transmit smells via the internet and mobile phones. California-based company Scent Sciences is now looking to bring an olfactory dimension to computer games with its ScentScape personal digital scent delivery system.
Scent Sciences’ President and CEO, Bill Wiles, told Gizmag the ScentScape system uses a combination of hardware, software & algorithms and chemistry – all covered by patents – to produce the smells. The system consists of a unit that plugs into a PC or gaming console via USB and generates smells using scent cartridges.
Each cartridge provides 20 basic scents and last about 200 hours, depending on personal use. The scents come in standard, which produce a range of more general smells, or media-specific versions to suit particular games, with smell strength controlled via a “volume control”.
Wiles says that gamers will also be able to use the company’s SDK along with the ScentEditor application to create their own scent-enabled games. Players will even be able to share the code they have created with other gamers who have their own ScentScape system to allow them to enjoy their creation.
Similarly, the ScentScape system and ScentScape Editor can be used to add smells to home videos. Specific themed cartridges such as holiday, summer, ocean, etc. will also be available for this purpose, along with special cartridges for aromatherapy and other applications.
Scent Sciences was showing its ScentScape system at CES 2011 and will be introducing the ScentScape Gaming Suite at the Game Developers Conference 2011 in February, where it will be continuing talks with game and game platform developers regarding building ScentScape capabilities into games. Wiles says the company will also work with the game developers to develop scent cartridges to suit their particular games.
Scent Sciences plans to begin shipments of the ScentScape Gaming Suite later this year at a price yet to be announced.
Akihabara News: Announced yesterday in Europe, the ICF-DS11iP and ICF-C05iP are the latest dock and alarm clock made for both the iPod and iPhone made by Sony.
The first model, ICF-DS11iP, include the Basic Dock and Charging features as well as the support of both Video & Audio playback, FFWD/REW and volume control via Remote, as well as the basic Alarm features ranging from the usual Buzzer Radio or any music stored on your iPod/iPhone while the second model the ICFC05iP, offers in the other hand only the support of Music on top of the Dock/Charge function and the advance Alarm features giving you access your iPod/iPhone music library. Read the press release
Engadget: Nokia VP, David Rivas, was in San Francisco yesterday touting Symbian^3 improvements. While we’ve heard and seen plenty about Symbian Three’s enhanced user experience already, it’s still worthy of another look considering Symbian’s dominant marketshare. Besides, David provides a very detailed look as he walks us though elements like the customizable (and more finger friendly) homescreens meant to provide quick access to call features and at-a-glance data. Rivas also reiterates speed improvement claims over existing S60 5th devices (about a 3x improvement in graphics performance) that should “very very pleasantly surprise” users. Read more and see the video
Electronista: Rental chain Blockbuster Video will close between 810 and 960 stores by the end of 2010, an SEC filing reveals.
While putting a significant number of people out of work, and closing off some markets, the move is expected to add another $50 to $60 million to annual earnings before expenses like taxes and interest.
The company has over 7,000 stores worldwide at present, scattered across Asia, Europe, the US and Australia.
Substituting somewhat for the lost stores will be a kiosk expansion. The company has plans to move from 497 kiosks now to 2,500 by the end of 2009, and some 10,000 by the middle of 2010.
Blockbuster’s main competition in this area is Redbox, a division of Coinstar that likewise rents DVDs through unattended machines.
One Barclays analyst, Douglas Anmuth, suggests that the store closures will likely benefit Netflix, the dominant American renter of video via mail and Internet streaming. Blockbuster has suffered in recent years as Netflix has grown, though the former has also been impacted by purely digital services.
These include Hulu, YouTube and the iTunes Store, the last of which also sells movies and TV shows in addition to renting them. Digital remains a relatively minor contribution in terms of industry rental profits.
Mobile Magazine: In many ways, the Ninja Remote is just a glorified universal remote, but what makes it cool is that you don’t need to do any programming ahead of time and what’s more, it’s small enough that you can easily avoid detection.
The tiny device simply needs to be pointed at your intended target (a television). Hold the mute button for a few seconds until the sound shuts off on the TV and you’re all synched up.
From here, you have basic control over changing the channels and adjusting the volume.
The developers of the Ninja Remote claim that it will be able to invade and conquer a wide range of TV sets, including those made by Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, Toshiba, Sanyo, Aiwa, Mitsubishi, Philips, JVC, Sharp, and more.
Tech Digest: Archos has unveiled its new line of personal media players, dubbed Generation 5. It includes three new PMPs, the 405, 605 and 705, which for the first time will support Flash-based video from YouTube and other online video-sharing sites.
The three PMPs also have built-in Wi-Fi, to attract people keen to stream media around their homes, including films and music from their PCs, as well as surfing the Web.
The new players will also be able to connect to TVs using Archos’ DVR Station accessory, meaning users will be able to watch downloaded movies on their big screen.
TG Daily: Internet analysis firm Comscore today said that Google has become the leading online video property with 1.2 billion video streams and 57.4 million unique people streaming videos in March.
The firm said that YouTube drove Google’s market share to 16.7%, reaching 53.5 million unique streamers and delivering 1.1 billion streams alone.
Yahoo came in second with 434 million streams, followed by Fox Interactive Media, which owns Myspace, with 421 million, Viacom with 260 million, Time Warner with 222 million and Microsoft with 151 million.
According to Comscore, 71.4% of U.S. Internet users streamed videos in March, with three out of ten users streaming from YouTube. Online viewers watched an average of 145 minutes of online video during the month; in total, more than 7 billion video streams were initiated by more than 126 million people in America alone, the research firm said.