New Amazon and eBay iPhone, iPod Touch apps scan barcodes to compare prices
Amazon and EBay are turning the iPhone and iPod Touch into pocket barcode scanners -- if, that is, owners of such devices have downloaded the latest version of the EBay app or Amazon's new Price Check app.
The two tech giants -- EBay, the online auction site, and Amazon, the Web warehouse of products -- released their respective mobile-scanning apps this week as many shoppers are planning their Black Friday sales routes through brick-and-mortar stores such as Target, Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Toys 'R' Us.
It seems Amazon and EBay are hoping to redirect a few sales to their online stores during the annual holiday buying rush.
Both apps use the iPhone or iPod Touch camera to check the price of an item against the price of the same product on the company's respective websites.
EBay's app uses the iPhone or iPod Touch camera as a barcode scanner to check prices on its website.
The EBay app can also, in most cases, automatically import details, specifications and photos into an EBay seller's online listing.
Amazon's Price Check app also uses the camera on the Apple devices as a barcode scanner to compare prices at Amazon.com, but it also can look up many items at its store using voice recognition or by snapping a photo of a book, CD, DVD or video game.
Both apps are free and available now for iPhone and iPod Touch users. No word on whether the scanning capabilities will make their way to EBay or Amazon's Android apps.
-- Nathan Olivarez-Giles
Image: Amazon Price Check App running on an Apple iPhone 4. Credit: Amazon.com Inc.