Comparison shopping with phones is gaining interest and ease


Imagine that you go into your favorite big box electronics store to shop for that flat screen television you want. Upon finding a model you like, you hold your cell phone camera up to the bar code on the television's packaging and enter that product code image into a comparison shopping program installed on your phone.

Within seconds, your phone informs you of the location of every available flat screen television matching that UPC code. You're given each store's location and it's current retail price on your desired television. It just so happens that the warehouse store five miles away is selling that same model with a $100 special discount. You slip your phone back in your pocket and make the short trip to save a hundred dollars on your new large screen TV.

Does this sound too good to be true? Does it sound too easy? Well, it's now becoming a reality.

A small flock of leading edge technology application companies have brought effective comparison shopping to our cell phones. One of those companies, Big in Japan Inc., located in Dallas, is the developer of ShopSavvy. This phone based program, which is receiving positive reviews, was the winner of Google's Android Developer Challenge, and was developed specifically for Google's Android mobile phone platform.

Utilizing your phone's GPS capability and online product availability information, these new smart shopping applications take the footwork out of shopping around. Although the technology is still in its infancy, quoted Alexander Muse, co-founder of Big in Japan as stating: "Right now, ShopSavvy only works on Android, but it should soon be available for iPhones, BlackBerrys and Windows Mobile handsets. We currently run about a million searches a day," Mr. Muse said, "but we expect that number to grow exponentially over the next year."