A9 is a subsidiary of Amazon that focuses on search technology. Their latest product is a free iPhone app that claims to be an augmented reality app that lets you discover information about everyday products around you. Augmented Reality (AR) are techniques that combine a camera view of the real world with information or graphical overlays to augment the viewing experience. There are many fascinating and sometimes useful implentations of AR. A9’s Flow Powered by Amazon app, however, merely uses AR as a gimmick.
Flow works with the iPhone’s camera to view a barcode or a specific set of known object types (book covers, CDs, DVDs and games) to identify the product and provide information to buy the product. The operation and end result is no different than the existing Amazon Mobile app (also free) that performs the same functions. It may more efficient from a battery management point of view to use Amazon Mobile or other scanning products that require a single photo image instead a constant camera scan.
That said, the app delivers on its ability to identify products for purchase. Its barcode scanning ability was accurate for all of my tests. Visual identification of its supported product categories was not as accurate. One Xbox game, for example, was identified as a Japanese import product despite the fact that I bought it in the U.S. and it has clear U.S. product markings.
You can find the Flow app in the iTunes App Store.