If you were not already aware of it, mobile phones are now beginning to feature barcode scanning applications. Take a look for example at the Google G2 mobile phone. They have an application which enables you to read barcodes using the phones camera. Other phones which have an integrated barcode scanner application include Apples IPhone.
This application can prove very useful as it enables you to shop around for the cheapest price of a specific product. Once the item has been scanned, your phone will gather data about the product and show you a list of other retailers who stock the product. You can then browse these retailers to check who offers you the best price on the product. Some of the barcode scanner applications enable you to read reviews about products. This is especially useful if you are unsure if you want to purchase the product.
The way these applications work is quite intriguing as they require a camera in order to read the barcode and not an infra-red scanner. The process is simple.

  • You point your phone at the barcode and scan it.
  • The phone reads the barcode and collects data about the product scanned.
  • The phone presents data about the product you have scanned e.g. a list of other retailers who sell the product and what price they sell the product at.

The applications on each phone differ slightly in how they work and how well they can read a barcode. The Apple IPhone has many barcode reader applications available from its App Store with varying prices. Consequently some may read a barcode and not provide as much information about a product whereas others may convey in depth detail such as product reviews and prices from different retailers.
Overall, the implications of an integrated barcode scanner could be great for businesses and consumers alike. For a business, they can integrate their online and offline activities. From a consumer point of view, an integrated bar code application is great as it enables them to get product information instantly.