5 mobile apps to help you shop smarter
There are a number of price comparison services for your mobile that can help you comparison-shop without driving around or phoning all over the place. Some work with any handset, and others specifically go with certain brands of handsets. Here are a few of the price comparison services that work on mobiles:
1. Twenga: Twenga is a shopping comparison search engine. Available in 13 countries including the UK, it searches through 137 million offers. Twenga means “straight to the goal” in an African dialect.
Twenga offers unique user features like historical price tracking and personalized recommendations. There is no merchant bias because unlike engines that operate on commercial partners, Twenga works through commercial ad placements.
Its 'natural' search engine, ranked by user criteria, is still slightly buggy: Twenga grabs eBay listings, and suffers from false sensitivity on searches. The free mobile application is available for download from the iTunes App Store.
2. ShopSavvy: For those with the T-Mobile G1, ShopSavvy is a free app available for the Android platform. It was one of the winners of the Google Challenge, and it helps you find items based on bar codes or title. The built-in Android camera reads the barcode, and searches through its database to find a listing both locally and online based on your GPS location. Each item searched for is saved in history, and you can also move it to a wishlist which helps you organise your searches. You can also email yourself links you find, and it even connects you up with reviews for movies, games, books, and music. You can set a price alert for when the price of whatever you're coveting drops to within your budget. Compared to Twenga, its organisational and extra features make it standout, and may give the iPhone a run for the money. Click here to watch a demo.
3. Sccope: For those that prefer SMS, Sccope does price comparisons using text messages with no charge beyond what you pay for texts (although your network operator may charge an "interactive text" fee, typically between 10p and 12p). Text the name or model number of the thing you want to 62555. The service should reply with a list of prices for model number searches, or a list of likely search results for product searches. With product searches, text back the model number associated with the product you want and you'll get a text back with prices. The Sccope site has an interactive phone emulator you can use to see how it works. Categories in Sccope include games, books, DVDs, electronics, small appliances, large electricals and toys. They do not provide price comparison on financial, travel or insurance products. You can email them and let them know what categories you would like included with the next category expansion.
4. Others: Kelkoo, the price comparison search site most of us have heard of, has a very simple site designed just for your mobile phone that you can access with your mobile phone's browser. It consists of a simple search box in which you type your search terms. And there's also PriceRunner, which checks and compares millions of prices on the web and in brick and mortar stores to help you find the best price. PriceRunner also has a free software download for your mobile phone that allows you to compare prices. Download via the PriceRunner Mobile site.
Have you tested any of the above, and have an opinion? Are there any other useful mobile price comparison services you've used or come across? Please share them in the comments box below!