Remember Flow, Amazon's augmented reality shopping aid that kinda sorta worked? Well now you don't have to, because the functionality has been rolled into the main Amazon shopping app. Now you can scan barcodes and even full products (at least some of the time) to compare their prices to everyone's favorite online megamart. And incidentally, you don't need a second app to do it.
The Flow features work best with a barcode, but the camera scanner will try to identify anything. Products with clear logos or easily-recognizable labels, like DVDs or cereal boxes, work best. For example, Flow can't recognize a white Nexus 5 sans packaging, but it managed to spot the NVIDIA SHIELD from the printed photo on the retail box.
Heads up, Google Wallet fans: better support for loyalty cards is coming to a Play Store update near you. According to a Google+ update from the Wallet team earlier today, the app will soon be able to auto-populate information when scanning in loyalty cards, presumably including the name and merchant. The update should be coming later this week, at least for the first batch of users. There are also some user interface changes, including a modified slide-out menu.
For those brick-and-mortar stores that also support Google Wallet's deals and offers, the Wallet app will also alert you when you're physically near the store in question.
There are a lot of security apps for Android that go a little ways into overkill territory. Whether you're talking about superfluous task managers or "virus scanners" that may provide some minimal protection while generating more fear than is warranted, Android has a persistent problem with companies applying a Windows-era mentality on a completely different OS. Secunia PSI, however, takes the cake for being one of the least effective apps on the Play Store.
Here's how it works: Secunia scans your apps for possible vulnerabilities. Not actual infections, mind you. It just checks to see if the currently installed versions of your application match any known security holes.
When we first discovered Slice, the app that scans your email for packages that you're waiting to be delivered, has updated to version 2.0 and brought a host of new features with it. For starters, if you use Hotmail, AOL, or iCloud as your primary email, you can now join in the fun. You can track outgoing packages by scanning tracking barcodes as well or entering the number manually, and filtering options have been improved.
The app also adds a new feature called "Thingerprint" which, aside from having a truly bizarre name, allows you to see how much money you've spent on what types of goods.
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?
Well, it would be, if it worked like that. Unfortunately, in practice the augmented reality app has some trouble recognizing cover art.
We at Android Police take our mobile security pretty seriously. It's in the job description. Entering the realm of mobile security today is yet another contender on the good side of the battle: VirusTotal has released its client for Android. Prior to this, VirusTotal was a simple website where you can upload suspicious files to be scanned by a multitude of antivirus engines. Having provided this desktop OS-oriented service for several years now, VirusTotal has brought its experience and expertise to mobile.
However, its mobile offering is slightly different than its desktop counterpart. As mobile devices are often data-limited, VirusTotal for Android instead checks an identifying hash of each application installed on your mobile device against the website's database.
ShoeBox, an app that represents 1000memories' first foray into the Play Store, is an awesome digital photo organizer, "turning your Android device into a mobile photo scanner," and allowing for sophisticated organization, storage, and sharing of your treasured paper photos.
For those that can't exactly hold their device with machine precision when scanning old photos, ShoeBox offers edge detection and perspective correction, ensuring that your newly-digitized photos won't be distorted or misshapen.
ShoeBox also allows users to add tags, dates, and locations to photos and organize them into separate collections. While users can instantly share photos with services like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and others, the app also offers "private shoeboxes," which will stay separate from shareable images.
How's this for amazing? You see a piece of sheet music, but you can't read it because you're a plebian, or perhaps you can read it but you want to hear it. SnapNPlay is an app that lets you take a picture of a line of sheet music and then plays back the notes on the page. This is amazing.
The app itself looks a little rough around the edges right now, but the concept is wonderful. The world of the future has already brought us some amazing things, but this app helps highlight something romantic about the nature of creative thought.
In the never-ending move to digitize and mobilize your entire world, some areas (like banking) are slower than others (like email). When the old guard does update, though, usually we get something pretty cool. Rite Aid is the latest entry to join in the mobile world and it's bringing with it yet another piece of the future: scanning pill bottles to refill your prescriptions.
It's not the first app to implement this kind of feature, but it's always welcome to see more options. Speaking of options, bottle scanning isn't your only one. The app also allows you to manage your prescriptions by number or from your history.
We don't tend to associate words like "scanning," "PDFs" and "documents" with fun. After playing with Handy Scanner, though... well, we still don't. Sorry. That headline was a lie. Scanning documents is, however, a breeze with this freemium app. Breezy enough that you won't want to go Office Space on your scanner, and that's fun.
Handy Scanner is very straightforward. Take a picture of a document that you want scanned. The app will pinpoint the corners of the document, perform a little perspective correction, and then you'll be presented with a few filter options. The most notable filter is "Print Ready" which will render the photo in black-and-white and ready for printing.