Amazon's Flow Isn't What Everyone Thought It Was
Flow Powered by Amazon (Free) by A9 Innovations, LLC is not in competition with Apple's iCloud service like most purported. It's an augmented reality shopping experience that allows you to discover the world around you, one product at a time.
Flow gives you information about the products around you whenever you want, wherever you are. Just start up the app and start scanning!
As soon as you open the app, the camera is on and ready to scan. Aim it at the item you wish to learn more about and watch as the tiny blue dots work their magic. Scanning the cover of the media worked flawlessly. However, you can't scan the front cover of just any product, it must be media related (e.g., DVDs, CDs, video games, books) to work this way. With other items, you'll have to scan the UPC instead. Either way, it works quickly and efficiently.
The only time I had a problem scanning something was with one DVD, but it was due to the lighting in the room I was in. The app suggests holding your phone closer to the item and ensuring there is no glare. I was able to get rid of the glare and successfully scan it later with no problem, anyway. So, I really can't complain.
This tool isn't necessarily meant to tell you what a product around you is — after all, if you're using the app to scan something, it's already in your possession. Instead, it's meant to give you more information about the product. Once an item is scanned, you can see its reviews, full product information, and even choose to purchase the item from Amazon — or, at least, do a price check to see which seller would be cheapest to purchase it from. You can share the information you receive with friends via Facebook, Twitter, and email as well.
Flow even keeps a history of your scanned items so you can go back to view them later. Unfortunately, though, you can't add things to a wish list. I think the app should have some sort of list system built in. Having one that syncs with your Amazon wish list would be even better. Not only would the consumer have what they want at their fingertips, and organized in their pocket, but Amazon sales would benefit from it as well. I would love to see this implemented in the future.
I suppose I am just stuck on the possibility of a Delicious Library-like tool for iOS. I am big fan of this Mac app, and would love to finally see this become a reality for our iDevices as well.
This is great technology, but I don't always just want to know more about products, I want to be able to save and remember them in an organized fashion. The ability to make lists of items owned, items wanted, and any other category one would find useful, would make this app perfect.
Overall, this tool works like magic. Those tiny blue dots appear on the screen, scan your item (or the UPC), and — voila! — you now have all of the information you could want about the product. Not to mention the interface of the app itself is both beautiful and simplistic — providing a great user experience.
Flow Powered by Amazon is available in the App Store for free. It's definitely a great tool to have in your pocket, especially this holiday season. Don't go shopping without it!