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RedLaser takes on local deals

Published on | By Miles Skorpen

We released an amazing new version of RedLaser for iOS this past Tuesday, and the media has taken notice, from TechCrunch and Appolicious (which reports “If you like saving money when shopping, RedLaser can help you do it”), to industry publications like Marketing Pilgrim and  Internet Retailer.

So what is so impressive about the newest version of RedLaser? For the first time, we’ve taken our local shopping experience and turned it from a search tool — where can you buy certain products — into a powerful local browsing engine, highlighting the best deals and stores around you. New features include in-store deals (carefully selected to be easy to use), store maps, and store circulars. This means you don’t have to wait for circulars or packets of coupons to show up in your mail: instead, just fire up RedLaser. 

MapTabTo access this powerful new functionality, just tap the new deals tab in the menu bar at the bottom of every screen. A map pops up, showing all the major retailers that have stores around you. Over fifty merchants (coverings tens of thousands of stores) are in RedLaser today, and this number is growing fast.

Just imagine using this feature at a mall: within seconds, you can target your shopping trip to your favorite stores with the steepest discounts, or even check to make sure the products you need are in stock.

2013-04-11 09.51.48Select the store you’re interested in, and you’ll get a huge menu of options.

Instead of hunting through aisles, just type in the name of the product you’re looking for, and all the locations appear on the store map. In the image to the left, we’ve found where Diet Coke is sold in our local Walgreens, for example. With another two taps, we’d see that 12-packs of soda were heavily on sale too!

You read more about the new release on the eBay blog or  see the full fact sheet. Then,  find RedLaser on Apple iTunes app store now, and we’re anxious to hear what you think. Give it a whirl!

 


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!

 


The re-designed RedLaser 3.2 released!

Published on | By Miles Skorpen and Chris Plasser

We’re happy to announce RedLaser for iPhone 3.2! This latest version of RedLaser includes a host of new features as well as several user interface changes that make RedLaser 3.2 the cleanest, fastest, and most useful RedLaser yet.

We’ve worked hard to bring you more prices from more stores and with more content for all the products you love to buy. We’ve also enhanced our core scanning engine, enabling RedLaser to scan even faster. And we’ve completely rebuilt our back-end infrastructure so we can show you results in the app with lightning fast speed. Watch our screencast (above) and go see for yourself by trying RedLaser 3.2 now — it’s on iTunes now.

 


iOS SDK 3.3.0 release: Codabar support, new scanning engine, improved sample application

Published on | By Miles Skorpen

The RedLaser team is proud to announce the release of our iOS SDK version 3.3.0. This release is now available to all production accounts, and for evaluation.

This new update contains a number of new features and bug fixes. Of particular note for our users: this update removes the unique device identifier [UDID] call from the SDK.

Use of these identifiers was deprecated in iOS 5.0, and recently, accessing UDIDs in an application may result in rejection in app review.  Due to this change, developers should use RedLaser iOS SDK version 3.3.0 or later in all future applications. This change will not impact existing applications. Historically, we’ve used UDIDs in our licensing system, particularly for developer accounts–they are never used outside of RedLaser. We’re changing our licensing system to use an alternative device identification system.

Two other changes are highlighted in our updated sample application.

First, the RedLaser iOS SDK now supports scanning Codabar barcodes. The most prominent user of Codabar is FedEx, which uses the symbology for its airbills. It is also commonly used by libraries, photo labs, and American blood banks. Codabar can be enabled in a similar fashion as other code symbologies in the SDK. You can also see the other code types RedLaser can scan in our documentation.

Second, we have added a debugging line to our sample application which provides information about the installed license file. You can read more about the testing process here.

Generally, the sample application has also been further updated to highlight some of the more advanced functionality available with the RedLaser SDK. This includes:

  • Built-in multi-scan mode
  • Multiple scan screen overlay options
  • Screen overlay rotation (particularly useful for large code types, like Code 39, which are used for VINs)
  • Utilizes both the front and rear facing cameras

Please utilize code from our sample application as a starting point for integrating the RedLaser SDK into your application, and push our software to its limits!

There have also been a number of behind-the-scenes changes. In particular, we have developed a new scanning algorithm which significantly improves performance on older devices.

Older devices have lower resolution cameras (frequently without auto-focus), and this translates into blurry barcodes. The RedLaser SDK now intelligently adjusts its gamma expectations based on ambient light, which lets it quickly pick out the details of blurry codes even in dark conditions.
Finally, we have introduced support for a capture-preview call. Under any circumstances you specify, the scanning SDK will capture a screen-shot of the preview screen right as it successfully completes a scan. You can send these previews back to your servers — functionality which may help coupon applications make sure real coupons (not just print-outs or photocopies) are being scanned.

 

In summary, our new iOS SDK introduces:

  • Changes to our licensing system to remove the need for UDID calls
  • Improved scanning in low-light conditions
  • Improved EAN scanning on iPad 2 and iPod Touch devices
  • BarcodeResult now conforms to NSCoding.
  • A new sample application, which includes license testing
  • Support for Codabar
  • Capture of barcode-scanning preview images

If you have a production account, you may download our new SDK immediately from our developer portal.