Any discounts on that Zhu Zhu pet? Scan the barcode with your cellphone

By this time next year, holiday shoppers could be pointing their cellphones at products on store shelves and seeing all kinds of information on their handsets. Retailers and manufacturers are setting standards that could ease the way for the next generation of barcodes, which can send out reams of information when scanned with a cellphone camera.

Industry groups are moving to make sure all phones can read all barcodes. That means U.S. retailers and manufacturers could be adopting the technology as early as the second half of next year, says Iain McCready, CEO of NeoMedia Technologies (NEOM), which markets barcode technology and services.