Let's face it: large physical retail stores can be difficult to navigate at times, especially for first-time shoppers. To help alleviate this problem, UK retailer Tesco (informally known as the European Walmart) has developed and is now testing an in-store GPS system that can be accessed from an Android phone.

Upon opening the app, you'll be greeted with an empty shopping list which you can fill with any and all products available at Tesco. This isn't just any shopping list, however; step into the Tesco Extra store in northeast London and a comprehensive store map will appear on your handset, complete with the locations of all the items on your list. Using your device's built-in GPS chip, the application can also locate you on said map (with an accuracy of within 3 meters, no less) and find the shortest route to the product(s) you wish to purchase.

Neato, right? Unfortunately, the only currently participating store is the aforementioned Tesco Extra Romford in northeast London. Worse yet, there's no telling when - or if - the app will see the light of day; at the moment, it's available exclusively to members of a "control group," and the author of the blog post (Nick Lansley) seems unsure as to whether the system will ever be publicly available outside of Romford:

Please note that we won't be rolling this out to customers in general for a while because we have to think about how useful it's going to be. The system involves a lot of infrastructure installation in the stores so we need to get all kinds of people involved in thinking about the customer experience. It would be awful if we did all this work but few customers really used it.

We must also see how we would put the technology into our production applications and make it really easy for everyone to use. There's also the possibility that the infrastructure is not reliable right now.

Still, it's a promising concept - one that shopaholics have been dreaming about for years now. If you live in or near London and would like to join the "control group," you can try shooting off an email to Ben Martin, the manager of this R&D project; otherwise, you'll just have to wait and hope for the best.

Cheers, Chris!

Source: Tech for Tesco

Jaroslav Stekl
Jaroslav Stekl is a tech enthusiast whose favorite gadgets almost always happen to be the latest Android devices. When he's not writing for Android Police, he's probably hiking, camping, or canoeing. He is also an aspiring coffee aficionado and an avid moviegoer.

  • Mesmorino

    Don't kid yourself. ASDA is the European Walmart.

    • Chris

      Only in that it's owned by Wal-Mart; Tesco have been the UK's number one retailer (and something like the third biggest in the world) for quite a while now.

  • http://kenkinder.com/ Ken

    Kind of curious about the GPS working indoors.

    • Coldman

      Works great for me anywhere indoors, unlike Garmins.

  • Luke

    The Meijer find it app has been out for a while and does pretty much the same thing. Unfortunately the Meijer local to me isn't one of the four or five supported stores.

  • dbareis

    Can't remember what its called but it won't be using satellites (as they generally won't work indoors) but simulations of them transmitted from inside the building.

  • Matt

    IPS (Internal positioning system), It uses wifi hotspots to triangulate your phone in three dimensions.