Return to blog home

The amazing Android SDK v3

Published on | By Miles Skorpen

After months of development, we’re proud to launch version 3 of our Android Scanning SDK! This update is available now in our developer portal.

Version 3 is the biggest SDK update we’ve ever released, and it includes massive improvements to every facet of the engine. With this release, our Android SDK is on par with our iOS SDK, and blows away our competition.

Most importantly, despite adding tons of new features, scanning on V3 is 20% faster than our previous version on all API level 9+ devices.

The biggest changes are in required device functionality. We now support fixed focus cameras, front-facing cameras, and all device form factors. In practice, these changes mean we suport nearly every Android device—and that the RedLaser scanning SDK can excel on tablets like Google’s new Nexus tablet.

We’ve also significantly expanded the software customization options in our Android SDK:

  • Add graphics to the custom overlay
  • Add custom buttons and text anywhere
  • Landscape mode
  • Alter the size / position of the scan window

Taken together, Android apps can now be as heavily customized as our iOS applications. We’re excited to see what will come out of these changes!

And that’s not all. The update also enables a host of other special features.

 

Multiscan comes to Android!

Multi-scan: Older versions simulated multiscan by stringing together camera sessions. With Version 3, we bring true multiscan. This means fewer duplicate results, a lighter demand on the device’s processor, a smoother experience, and a big speed boost!

 

Associated codes: Version 3 will intelligently detect associated codes—like MSRP or issue numbers alongside ISBN numbers. This helps handle a number of product categories more smoothly, and enables some advanced app functionality.

Coupon checking: If you support scanning coupons in app, it can sometimes be important to check if the scanned coupons are coming from real publications, or are photo copies or print-outs. With the coupon checking functionality, you can take a screenshot of whatever is scanned, for further analysis.

Stitching: This feature allows users to stitch together big barcodes one bit at a time. This is highly demanded by our automotive users, since it can be great for VIN / Code 39 scanning on older devices with lower resolution cameras.

To round things off, we’ve added Codabar support, updated our sample application, and created a thorough Android docs section. You can see some more screen shots below. Enjoy!

  

 


RedLaser 3 for Android

Published on | By Miles Skorpen

RedLaser is proud to announce a major upgrade to our Android app. RedLaser 3 includes a host of new features, making it one of the most amazing upgrades for RedLaser yet. This new release is now available on Google Play, so you can start using it right away.

RedLaser, re-imagined

Just a few months ago, Google released a new set of design standards for Android app designs along with their cutting edge Ice Cream Sandwich [ICS] version of Android. The core principles of ICS are:

  • Enchant users, with flexible and delighting design
  • Simplify life for users, with succinct, bold, and image-oriented design
  • Make users amazing, by empowering them and making important things fast and easy

We took these principles to heart when developing RedLaser 3 for Android.

Our new design emphasizes the information that matters, and uses carefully tuned displays to make user’s workflow as smooth as possible.

To help things along, we’ve introduced an awesome new interface, with things like side-swiping, smart navigation, and a custom, and universal, action bar. Taken together, they make RedLaser more powerful and easier to use.

This is particularly visible in our local results. Not only is the standard price display much easier to read than in previous versions of the app, but now we have a powerful map view. With a single tap, you can see exactly where the lowest prices are in your area — and then get driving instructions, contact information, store hours, and much more.

Faster than ever

RedLaser 3 isn’t just a major step forward in design. It is also the fastest RedLaser yet.

We’ve worked hard to improve how our servers interact with RedLaser 3, so you’ll find all of our results loading much quicker. Jumping between reviews, local prices, and other product information is seamless — there aren’t long pauses, as we wait for information to be downloaded. And for products you’ve visited before, we make sure to save the results on your phone so you can check the results or offers even when you are shopping offline.

Speed isn’t just about how fast things load. We’ve also included a number of features to make RedLaser smarter, so it can help you complete your searches and scans more quickly. The most important addition is search auto-completion — RedLaser will try to figure out what you are searching for, and offer suggestions for great searches. This means you’ll spend less time fighting your phone’s keyboard, and more time checking prices and shopping!

And this is only just the start. We’ve got some major changes which will accelerate how we scan coming next month.

More data

We’re also working hard to expand the quantity and quality of data available in RedLaser.

We already have the largest mobile shopping product database, but we have also partnered with a number of dedicated data providers to supplement our prices with other critical information, including:

  • Health, environment, and social ratings from GoodGuide
  • Nutritional information, including calories and ingredients, from providers like Fooducate
  • Product reviews, which will help you decide which products to buy — like book reviews and details from Simon & Schuster
  • Allergen information to alert you to potential risks in foods

We’re excited to offer all this new data, and a huge increase in coverage for some of our most important categories, like grocery and household items. And this is just the tip of the iceberg — all summer, we’re going to be rolling out massive increases to our product catalog.

So, upgrade to RedLaser 3 for Android now, and get shopping!

 


Android users are more likely to scan soda and cigarettes than their iOS peers

Published on | By Miles Skorpen

When people download RedLaser, their first inclination is to scan the closest product with a bar code. Our database records of first scans then gives a picture of what our users have close at hand upon first getting the application. The categories aren’t big surprises — sodas, media (like books and movies), cigarettes, and electronics.

However, we have been surprised to find that these first scans vary dramatically between our two largest platforms.

Google ChartGoogle Chart

Android Initial Scans

Android users, we’ve discovered, have cigarettes and soda as 57% of their first scans, while those categories only make up 29% of the first scans for iOS users — instead, vastly more likely to scan electronics and twice as likely to scan media — particularly games and movies.

While within these categories, similar items are popular, we did notice one other important difference–soda preference. Android RedLaser users not only prefer soda, they prefer more sugary sodas compared to their iOS-using peers.

SSR* iOS Android
1 Coke Coke
2 Diet Coke Mountain Dew
3 Mountain Dew Pepsi

* SSR: Soda Scan Ranking