Friday, June 09, 2006

Shop With Your Cellphone (Deal of the Day: Personal Finance)|

IT'S HAPPENED TO EVERY bargain lover: You spot something in a store, and can't decide whether to buy it then and there, or head home for some online comparison shopping.
Choose the latter, and there's a good chance you'll find it cheaper. Or course, you might also end up losing money after high shipping fees eclipse that seemingly lower price. Then it's — sigh — back to the store, hoping that item is still in stock.
Thanks to new software for your cellphone, those days of are over. Launched June 7, ScanBuy Shopper uses barcodes and Internet price comparison search engines to tell you on the spot how much an item is going for online. Best of all, it's free.

Using ScanBuy Shopper

1. Get the Right Phone Not every phone is capable of using the software. Currently, you can download ScanBuy Shopper to 95 models of Motorola, Nokia and Sony-Ericsson phones. You'll also need service from either T-Mobile or Cingular, as well as a data plan to link to the Internet. For our test, Nokia sent us a flashy Nokia 6682 test phone serviced by T-Mobile.

2. Download the ProgramUsing your cellphone, visit If your phone is supported, you'll automatically be asked to download the program. Or sit down at your computer and head to Follow the download instructions. A text message will be sent to your phone with the download link. Either way, the process takes just a minute or two.

3. ShopSimply open the program and manually type in the barcode. Information will be loaded from the search engines, including best price, other online prices, used item prices, reviews and product info. You can click on each option to get more details. We found that most searches took just 30 seconds or so.
Your last five searches are saved in the history folder, with results updated each time you view them. Window shopping? Email results to yourself or someone else.


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