One of the great new features of the iPhone 3GS is the auto focus camera.
I remember hearing on a podcast months ago that if the camera was improved on the iPhone, bar scan apps would finally work.
If you are like me, very seldom do you shop in a brick and mortar store. When finding yourself in a store how often do you see a price and wonder what it would cost online? Of course a Safari search could find the item and current online pricing. This would be after a search or two and could be tedious at best. The idea of snapping a photo of the bar code and receiving information on my phone intrigues me. Last week I was chatting with Gear Diary Editor Dan Cohen and neither of us had seen a bar code scanner app yet. On my evening App Store window shopping I discovered Cyclops.
Cyclops only works on the iPhone 3GS currently due to camera issues.
The app is very simple. Snap a shot of a bar code and receive information from Amazon including a description and pricing.
I tested three items while sitting here at my desk to get a preliminary read on the app.
First, I tested my iPhone In Ear headphone packaging. The bar code is rather small so it would never register.
Giving the app the benefit of the doubt since Apple’s bar code was not a standard size, I tested a box from a canon zoom lens. I have to admit the testing conditions were not ideal. These photos were taken in my dark office with only a touch desk lamp with one missing bulb. The lens code read quickly and saved into my Cyclops homepage. When you click on a saved item, a screen give a photo of the item along with pricing information and a description.
All of the information comes from Amazon and a button a the very bottom is a link to the item on Amazon.com.
My next test was a coaching book. I figured a coaching book about the 4-3 football defense would surely stump Cyclops. Believe it or not, the book is actually on Amazon and cheaper then the price we paid at football clinic.
This app worked well but is definitely in its infancy. I can think of so many features that could develop an app like this to be great. The ability to share the info (especially when the wife needs to share info with me), or even price comparisons from multiple sites would be nice. Cyclops is free so very much worth a look for 3GS users. I wonder what store managers will begin to think when everyone browsing the store is taking photos of bar codes, then walking out empty handed! The app is available now here in the App Store.