I just learned of an iPhone app called “Snappr.” It’s amazing.
Launch Snappr, then “scan” a barcode by taking a picture of it using your iPhone’s camera. The picture is sent to Snappr’s servers, where the code is actually read. In a few seconds they tell you how much that thing would cost at Amazon.com, Yahoo.com, and a few others. That way, before you buy that big flat-screen TV as a present for your older brother’s 47th birthday this coming July so he can watch college football games while typing his fingers off in an effort to make the world a better place for Mac and iPhone users everywhere, you– Brother Spencer– could check that you were getting a good deal.
I will demonstrate with a box of Rice-a-Roni, recently purchased at my local grocery store. Let’s find out whether I got a good deal.
Here’s the bar code (as seen in the Snappr app after I took the picture)…
And here’s how much it would cost at “Meijer,” wherever that is.
I don’t want 12 boxes but it’s nice to know that it would cost $14.71 for the dozen. I only paid 99 cents for my box so I’m feeling pretty good.
Let’s try something a little different: a CD.
Here’s the bar code (a little blurry)…
And here’s what comes back from Snappr.
Pretty neat. Of course, I already bought it, but suppose I was in the store looking at CDs and was only thinking about buying it. Armed with the price info from Amazon & Yahoo I would know whether I should buy it at the store or not.
Pretty cool stuff.
Snappr says that you have to have a special macro lens on your iPhone to take the bar code pictures properly, but I say you don’t. I took those bar code pictures with my stock iPhone 3G S and everything turned out fine. If you DO want a macro lens, try to find a “Clarifi” case for your iPhone (from Griffin), as it has a little slide-out lens and it does make a difference. You can always try taking a picture of a bar code without the macro lens– it’s a free app, so it costs nothing to try. (The iPhone 3G S’ camera is Apple’s best camera yet, so maybe the Snappr people just need to update their website.)