John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Amazon Remembers Forgets Barcode Scanner

There’s a new beachhead in Amazon’s campaign to commandeer sales from competing retailers: Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone. This morning the retailer uncrated Amazon Mobile, an iPhone/iPod Touch application that allows users to browse its wares and those of associated retailers like Target (TGT) and Macy’s (M). The app supports Amazon’s standard features–customer reviews, “1-Click Shopping” and whatnot–as well as an intriguing new one. Called Amazon Remembers, it allows users to search for products they’d like to purchase by photographing real-world products. Testing Amazon Remembers this morning, I snapped a picture of the Sonos Controller on my desk and, sure enough, about 10 minutes later Amazon (AMZN) let me know that it does offer that product for sale.

A neat little feature, although why anyone would actively use it is beyond me. Text searches on Amazon Mobile–and Amazon’s iPhone-optimized site–are both easier and far, far faster. Why bother with the cumbersome “snap photo-submit photo-wait for Amazon to identify product in photo and its availability and price”?

What this application is clearly lacking and, frankly, just begging for, is a barcode scanner and real-time price comparison function. That would make it a killer app, indeed. And Snappr has proven barcode scanning on the iPhone is possible. The device just needs an improved camera for it to work….