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Just in time for last minute Christmas shopping, Amazon.com has released their mobile app for the iPhone and iPod touch. It offers searching, Wish List and account access, and purchasing directly from the app. If you’re already an impulsive internet shopper, then this may just be your worst nightmare. If you dread the mall and don’t have time to spend hours finding the right gift at your computer, than it could be your new best friend.
Amazon isn’t just porting their website’s functionality to the iPhone platform, either, although all of the central features of the site are there. They’ve wisely taken advantage of the iPhone’s specific abilities to add a new feature called “Amazon Remembers,” which is similar to the standalone SnapTell Explorer app. It’s kind of like Shazam but with pictures instead of sound.You take a picture with your iPhone’s camera, and the images are instantly uploaded to Amazon.com’s servers. Amazon tries to match products in its database to the ones taken by your camera, and then returns the results to the user to either purchase or save for later.
iPod Touch users can join in the fun, too, since Amazon Remembers also allows you to use images stored in your device’s photo album. Testing out the feature produced good results. A photo of the Iron Man DVD saved from Google Images returned the Two-Disc Special Collectors’ Edition, as did a photo of the actual DVD from my collection. Oddly, results seemed to only be returned if I exited and reentered the app.
It’s a good beginning, and the Amazon Remembers feature is surprisingly accurate for an experimental first release. A colleague pointed out that the app lacks support for special deals, like Gold Box, Deal of the Day, and Lightnight Deals. Maybe those will come in future updates, or maybe Amazon doesn’t want me to spend as much money as I possibly can at their site. Ball’s in your court, Amazon.
Amazon Mobile is a free download from the App Store.