Black Friday shopping: iPhone apps of the week

This week's apps are both tools for holiday shopping. Get quick access to a huge database of products and prices along with some helpful shopping tools to make your shopping experience easier.

iPhone (Credit: CNET)

This week's post is a special edition of the iPhone apps of the week. Black Friday is the biggest shopping day of the year, and though I can't help you beat the lines or navigate through the crowds, I've rounded up a couple of apps that might make your holiday shopping a bit easier. These apps are made for price-checking on the go, so you can make sure you're getting the lowest price for the item in front of you.

Amazon Mobile needs little in the way of introduction as the mobile companion to the popular shopping site, with a huge database of products so you can compare prices on the go. But I would also like to introduce you to TheFind, a new iPhone app with a unique set of shopping tools that help you get the most bang for your buck by working in tandem with TheFind.com. With these apps in your arsenal and a little luck, you might get exactly what you're looking for at prices that won't break the bank.

This week's apps are both tools for holiday shopping. Get quick access to a huge database of products and prices along with some helpful shopping tools to make your shopping experience easier.

Amazon Mobile

Browse products, check user reviews, and view best prices for products, just like the Web site.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

Amazon Mobile (free) is a great one-stop shopping and price-checking app on the iPhone and will be a familiar and intuitive solution for many because it closely resembles the popular shopping destination on the Web. With Amazon's vast database of merchandise, you'll be able to easily find just about anything the retail giant sells. Deals, recommendations, and other tools you find at the online site have also made it into this app, and you can log in to see your wish lists and shopping cart if you have an account with Amazon. Best of all, you can buy products with a tap--especially useful if your credit card information is already on file at the Amazon Web site.

Apart from the usual searching and browsing, Amazon has given its app special mobile powers that make the most of the iPhone's features. In addition to taking photos of items for later reference and purchasing, you can also search for items by scanning the bar code. Like other apps in this category, Amazon Mobile uses the iPhone camera to perform this task, then matches the results to its database. A feature that would be useful to me would be a history of scanned items, but hopefully that feature will arrive in future updates. Overall, if you're out and about shopping for the holidays, Amazon Mobile is a familiar companion to have for quick price-checking and scanning for better deals.

TheFind

Use the tabs near the top for prices from Web sites, nearby stores, and favorite shopping locations.

(Credit: Screenshot by Jason Parker/CNET)

TheFind (free) is a new app that lets you scan bar codes or search for products like the Amazon Mobile app, but offers a number of other features that will be especially useful to holiday shoppers. Start with a quick scan of the product's bar code or enter a text search, and TheFind will return a list of prices from the Web. TheFind uses the technology used in RedLaser, an amazingly accurate scanning app that I found to be very effective in an earlier post. Once your product is scanned you have the option to browse tabs at the top that sort by Web sites, stores near your location, or from a list of stores you prefer that can be added by hitting a small plus sign graphic next to each listing. You also get a nice description of each item without ever having to leave the app.

Beyond its price checking capabilities, TheFind gives you added extras to make your shopping experience more affordable and convenient. Once you're registered at TheFind Web site, you can use the site to find deals while at home, add them to your favorites on the site, then access all your shopping deals on your iPhone while in the trenches on Black Friday. As an added bonus, TheFind will even let you view a map to each store, so you'll be able to locate the store, brave the lines, find your deals, and get out of there all with the help of one shopping app.

What's your favorite shopping app for iPhone? Does Amazon Mobile make it easier to find the right price? What do you think of TheFind as a shopping companion? Let me know in the comments!

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