Sunday, August 17, 2008

iPhone Apps - Bar code scanners

1Have you ever been in a grocery store and wondered if you are getting the best deal on a product that you are putting into your shopping cart? I do all the time, especially with big ticket items like computers, TVs, etc. Wouldn't it be cool if you could read the bar-code and quickly get prices and reviews of off the Internet?

The following software all use the iPhone's built in camera to capture the bar-code and decode them to get information and content from the Internet.

image  Barcode

image NeoReader

image ScanLife

image CheckOut

BarCode will only read and store your bar-codes in a database. (Average rating: 2.5 starts, 47 reviews)

NeoReader goes a step further and allows you to search details about the product that you just scanned. (Average rating: 2.5 stars, 19 reviews)

ScanLife seems to be able to scan only 2D bar codes (EZCodes). Apart from that it also allows you to search for web content based on the item you just scanned. (Average rating: 3 stars, 12 reviews)

CheckOut is the only one that is not free ($4.99). There is a service outage currently with this app. It too allows you to search for online content based on the bar code that you scanned in. (Average rating: 2 Stars, 34 reviews)

If you look at the reviews all of them have some problems. But they do work. And they definitely are a cool idea and an innovative use of phones that have access to the Internet.

(disclaimer: I have not installed any of the above apps on my iPhone. The review is based on the reviews and statistics available on iTunes as of today).

1 comment:

streetstylz said...

It should be noted that:

Scanbuy’s indirect resolution process, which they use for their proprietary EZcode, is infringing on NeoMedia Technologies’ core patents.

Indirect encoding (patented by NeoMedia) is the process of linking the target information to an index (364528 for example) and putting that unique identifier into a 1D UPC/EAN or 2D barcode. The code reader on the mobile phone reads the barcode and sends the code data over the Internet to a central resolution server that will tell the mobile phone what action is associated with the index, i.e. access a URL, download media, initiate a phone call, ect.

NeoMedia Technologies has a suite of twelve issued patents covering the core concepts behind linking the physical world to the electronic world dating back to 1995. These patents cover various linkage methods including: Barcodes, RFID, Mag Stripe, Voice, and Other machine readable and keyed entry identifiers.

NeoMedia brought suit against Scanbuy for patent infringement. Litigation has been ongoing.

CheckOut also infringes since it does UPC look-up and compares prices.