Amazon-owned development house A9 Innovations has released a product search app built on the idea that instead of tapping buttons to take pictures of products, you'd rather just point your camera at products. Probably not a bad notion! Not exactly the most important thing to spend a bunch of money and time developing, but hey, if you can just wave your phone in front of a movie and get pricing and review information, it's gotta be worth it, right?

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Well, it would be, if it worked like that. Unfortunately, in practice the augmented reality app has some trouble recognizing cover art. In testing a dozen of the movies and games on my shelf, the app only recognized about half of them. The app is pretty sensitive and requires you to hold the item still long enough for a match to be made. The time savings over similar apps that require you to take a picture is virtually non-existent.

While the app does exactly what it says on the tin, the benefits are questionable. Additionally, since this app is powered exclusively by Amazon, you can't get the same price comparisons that apps like ShopSavvy offer. Still, it's a neat trick. Hopefully in the future the recognition can be made faster and a true augmented reality overlay will arrive on Android.

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • Alan

    Only in the US!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/sam1am John Samuel αΩ

    So now there are like 15 apps from amazon to help you search for things in person. Maybe they should consolidate? 

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    I just used it on a bunch of things around the house, and I was pretty impressed overall. It recognized all book covers (not just barcodes) that I showed it, which is awesome (even this http://i.imgur.com/NjZhJ.png - ha).

    It recognized the box of the Galaxy Nexus, though it had some trouble and started spitting out phone cases afterwards.

    It recognized a barcode off Pledge, but not the can itself. It didn't recognize any of the actual products, like phones or various electronics, so it's definitely geared towards easily categorized things like books, barcodes, and product boxes.

    Still, I'm fairly impressed. Going to use it next time I'm in Costco.

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii