Dear Lifehacker, I have recently got with the current century and have an Android phone. Love it! But the thing that is missing for me is a good Australia-enabled shopping program. I would like to be able to scan barcodes, create and maintain shopping lists, and sync with an online website where I can also manipulate the list. I’d also like to be able to compare prices amongst stores. I have seen apps aplenty to do all or part of these in the US market – are there any focused on Australia? Thanks, Droppa Docket
If a reader can tell us about a previously undisclosed shopping application for Android that handles local products and barcodes, I’ll shout excitedly from the rooftops (or at least write a pretty lengthy post about it). But I’m not altogether hopeful, because there’s no easily accessible centralised resource of Australian barcode data for developers to access, which means that it’s far from a trivial task to build any kind of app centred on Aussie shoppers.
For proof, you only need to look at eBay’s recently launched iPhone app, which includes scanning features. eBay obviously isn’t short of a buck or two and should be able to access useful barcode data pretty easily, but in our tests on Australian products, it failed every single time.
The team behind Scan2list — a locally-developed shopping app for the iPhone — is working on an Android client, and right now that looks like our next best hope for this space. Scan2list isn’t perfect, but its coverage is a lot broader than anything else out there I know of. Until then, unfortunately, it seems we’re stuck with US-centric apps. (Somebody please prove me wrong!)