What to buy, and how to get the most from it.

Snaptell Explorer retrives product listings from the iPhone's camera

Mike Schramm
M. Schramm|11.20.08

Sponsored Links

Snaptell Explorer retrives product listings from the iPhone's camera
Oh man -- finally, we're getting an app that fulfills the promise of the iPhone. Ever since we knew the iPhone would have a camera and an internet connection, we've been waiting for SnapTell Explorer, and now it's here and free. Download and install it on the iPhone, and then snap a picture of any book, CD, movie, or videogame, and bingo, you've got links to listings for it (Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Wikipedia, Google, etc.) around the Internet. I have no idea how it works (some type of picture comparison script hooked up to a database, surely, though it's amazing that it works that well with just the iPhone's camera), but that's fine, because it makes it all the more indistinguishable from magic.

The main drawback is that it takes a bit to search their database -- while wifi or 3G are much faster (obviously), Edge will have you waiting a few minutes for a find. And at this point, all they have are links to pages -- it would be nice to see a price comparison right away and/or a quick rating (to see instantly what people think of a movie if you happen to be standing in a video store making your choice). Finally, it would be nice to see this extended to all sorts of items -- I tried scanning a few groceries that I might be price shopping, but for now it's just books, movies, and music.

But otherwise, it's awesome -- even in low light/bad light situations, as long as you can get a recognizable picture of the case, it works. This is exactly the kind of thing the iPhone is made for, very cool to finally see it in action.

[via Waxy]
All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Popular on Engadget