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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Comparing ShopSavvy and RedLaser Barcode Readers

I just received an update for the ShopSavvy barcode reader for my IPhone 4 Smartphone.  I was able to do a quick comparison with the RedLaser barcode reader on the same phone with a number of books and CPG products.  The newest ShopSaavy reader update is very slick, it requires almost no alignment with the barcode in reasonable store lighting.  The current version of RedLaser still requires you hold the picture within two sets of alignment arrows, and hold the phone quite still.  The ShopSaavy has pulled ahead, making it very convenient for quick in-store use. Moderate glare causes no problems.   Both can also handle QR codes.  Only RedLaser lets you turn on the phone light, which can also be useful in some situations.   No contest at this time.  The winner for typical use at this time is ShopSavvy.

4 comments:

Alexander Muse said...

With more than a hundred different varieties of Android smartphones more than a few have an LED Flash/Light designed to help take photographs in low light conditions. Hundreds of users over the past year have asked that we turn the flash on indefinitely when a user is scanning a barcode. At first glance this seems like a reasonable request, but after looking into the idea we decided against including it as a feature in the app.

Cons:

• intensive battery life consumption - the flash was designed to illuminate an area for a millisecond, not for several minutes at a time.
• reduced scanning speed and accuracy – most consumer packaging is high-gloss and the LED flash creates a glare making code harder to read.
• hard to test/troubleshoot – each manufacturer implements the flash a little differently and while we may figure out how to make it work on one or two devices it may break others

Pros:

• LOTS of users seem to want the feature.

The light levels found in 90% of retail are perfect for camera assisted scanning. After the first LED flashes were released and we began getting requests from users we starting asking them questions. The one thing that we began noticing was that the users requesting the feature were scanning products in their homes where the light levels were low. Scanning in low light conditions is difficult. We do a LOT of scanning with our app in retail and it works really well – fast and accurate. When we asked these same users to try out the app in retail they realized they didn’t need the light to scan.

So the question is, should we offer users the ability to turn on their LED flash while scanning given all that we know? Love to hear from you in the comments.

Franz Dill said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Franz Dill said...

Excellent points. It is likely mostly a perception. I liked the idea of it, but have never had to use the LED in a realistic situation. I have tested smartphone readers in a number of labs and retail contexts. Perhaps in a dark pantry? Just to test that I just tried several readers in my own pantry (not very dark) and it worked fine. If anything glare can cause more of a problem. Perception though, always has to be considered. Certainly not always-on, but as an option? Thanks for the comment.


Franz (franzdill@gmail.com)

Franz Dill said...

Its all about ease of use. Few mis-reads. It has to be instant-on, no special alignment required, allow you to do multiple scans than can be saved and referenced, but also click through quickly to more info as needed. Shoppers need simple quick methods, they at least now are still looking over their shoulder, since scanning is not usual behavior in the store. I have interviewed some shoppers about it in the store. Light is not essential, more of a gimmick.

Franz (franzdill@gmail.com)