Mobile Apps that use barcodes to find the best and more recent pricing are, not surprisingly, becoming very popular as consumers shop for the holidays. These Apps, some of which have just rolled out, are part of the larger success story that is mobile retail: namely, anything that offers shoppers a bargain or price cut at the point of sale - coupons for example - is a winning strategy.
The barcode Apps all operate on the same premise: consumers hold the phone over the barcode which snaps a picture of it, transmits it to a search engine, which then trawls the web for the best deal.
iPhone Gets in the Game
For the most part Android has been the platform on which barcode-reading Apps have been introduced. That is because the iPhone's camera doesn’t have autofocus. A new App by Occipital, though, has circumvented the iPhone's technical issues and the resulting app, RedLaster, has rapidly become the leading barcode-reading app. (via the Independent)
There have been other recent offerings as well - on both platforms. Some of these Apps are integrated into related applications by the developer, such as the case of iBARCODE. Developed by apnoti.com GmbH, iBARCODE makes use of apnoti's recently launched real-time price search engine smart.apnoti.com, which has 65 million product offerings from 10,000 online shops worldwide. Users hold the device over the barcode, an integrated camera snaps its image and then finds the best offers on the internet.
The App recognizes a broad range of barcodes - UPC8, UPC12, EAN and ISBN - that can be found on the packaging of such products as cameras, computers, furniture, books and DVDs.
Edocrab is a new beta comparison shopping Blackberry App. It follows the same model of having users scan the barcode of an item in a store and comparison shop.
Barcodescan Pro, as another example, makes use of iPhone OS 3.1's autofocus camera to scan a bar code. The App then spits back whatever information - including pictures and high and low prices - that is in Barcodescan's database.