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NextTag Android app saves time, money when you go shopping

by Caitlin M. Foyt

NexTag is a program that gives you lots of options when it comes to cutting costs on some of the items on your shopping list. It just might turn into your favorite shopping buddy, and fall into the ranks as one of the most practical applications on your Android phone.

This app is a huge Internet database, listing pretty much every product you can think of. When you're searching for something in particular, be it a watering can, coffeemaker or computer, just type it in the "What are you shopping for?" bar at the top of the app's screen, and hit the green "Find it" button. If you have a special brand or type of product in mind, do your best to specify these in your search.

Then, just like Google search results, tons of listings for that particular product will pop up. Every item will have a description and ratings by other consumers. To find the price most suited for your needs, simply flip through these options and compare them. If you find a price you're happy with, you can buy it with a few taps of the finger, without even being forced to leave the application.

If you're out wandering the aisles of a Best Buy or Target, and something catches your eye, this app has a barcode scanner so you can see how the price measures up with some other stores listings on the web. Click on the barcode tab, hold your phone steady, and the app will snap a photo of a product's barcode so you can compare the box store's price beside all of its listed prices online. The one problem I found with this feature, however, is that the phone must be held perfectly still in order to work and it sometimes takes a very long time (from 20 seconds to one minute) to process.

Supposedly, this app recently received an update that allows users to sort by lowest price, brand or seller ratings, but I wasn't able to figure out how to implement this feature. Everything seemed to be in sporadic order, and, because of this, price comparing was a bit more difficult than it needed to be.

Under NexTag's "My Lists" tab, users can create a wish list, check out which items they've searched and those they've viewed most recently. It's helpful if you're like me and like to keep shopping as organized as possible and avoid impulse purchases.

Overall, this app is very helpful because it helps people closely monitor their spending and also saves time that would be spent shopping around looking for cheaper prices. In that same breath, however, I noticed that this application seems to be designed primarily for the Internet shopper and not for the type who does the majority of their shopping at local stores. A fan of the small-business model, I also think this kind of app drives away business from the little guy. Because of these points, I feel this application isn't accessible to everyone.