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ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner for Android a sharp price-checker

by Caitlin M. Foyt

ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner has raised the bar on what it means to be a price-checker app. Like similar apps on the Android marketplace, ShopSavvy Barcode Scanner allows you to scan items and then search the Internet for the best price. But, it goes a step further, and not only lists the web sites, but also displays a map with the nearest stores that carry the product, and then indicates whether or not the store has it in stock.

Its simple design makes it easy to navigate, and because the concept is so simple, anyone can use it. There are five tabs on the menu screen: "Search for a Product," "Wish Lists," "Price Alerts," "History" and "Settings." To scan a barcode on something, click "Search for a Product." Hold the phone still, and line up the barcode inside of the camera's box. Once the app figures out what it's looking at, you'll be taken to another menu.

Here, you can see tabs for "Web" and "Local." Click on either tab, and you'll see prices listed by web site in ascending order. The local tab lists how far away you'll have to go for these items, and gives you the option to click on a map, which you can zoom in and out of.

Go back to the item's menu screen, and you can read reviews that other people have written about this particular product, save it to a wish list, or set an alert for when the price of this item has been reduced.

It's hard to pick on an app that is not only accessible to everyone, but is also free, however, I noticed that ShopSavvy didn't pick up on any local stores that weren't chain stores. I live in Los Angeles, and am surrounded by tons of great independently owned boutiques, bookstores and record stores. This app didn't detect any of these little guys, which is a huge shame.

I also noticed that sometimes, if it's an obscure barcode or one that's difficult to read, you're expected to hold the camera steady while the app searches for the product. This isn't necessarily the app's fault, but because it took so long, I was uncomfortable trying to stay in the same position. I guess I'd rather that the app let me know right away if it can't find an item anywhere else than to keep up the search.