Amazon on Your iPhone: Yes and No

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Amazon's iPhone app is one of those ideas that seems so obvious in retrospect but hadn't really crossed my mind until it appeared in the App Store. It works incredibly well right out o the gate. Log into your Amazon account and you see your Amazon store.

I've already purchased a few items from the app that I had previously planned to buy from my desktop. They were waiting in my shopping cart when I logged into the app. With one-click purchasing, they were on the way to my house within seconds of signing in.

This is how it is supposed to work!

But wait! There's more. A feature called Amazon Remembers allows you to take a picture and quickly upload it to Amazon. There, it is put through the freelance workers in Amazon's Mechanical Turk program, who will try to match the photo with products for sale on

I took a picture of my Airport Express Router (which a certain someone needs for Christmas) and lofted it off to Amazon. About five minutes later, voila!

amazon iphone app

I tried some other household items. It/they figured out my Linksys router and were pretty close on my HP display. The downside to this technology is that brick and mortar stores will have to start banning iPhones if they want to keep people from shopping online with the wares on their store shelves.

Yes, it could happen. Maybe.

So...Amazon, iPhone, together. The very first thing I thought of when I heard there was an iPhone Amazon store was downloading DRM-free high quality MP3's right onto my iPhone and listening to them directly - just like mobile iTunes except cheaper/higher quality and without DRM.

No dice.

I did a search for a few music titles. Amazon will let you buy the CD, but they won't let you download a MP3 file to iTunes. You can actually save the music into your wish list and look at reviews and album art but you won't be able to actually make the purchase until you get back to your desktop/laptop. Drat.

amazon iphone app

Movies work the same way. You can even buy a VHS copy but you can't get the instant gratification of watching a movie directly from Amazon unbox on the iPhone. Amazon would have to reformat their movie library anyway.

Now, I don't blame Amazon for this. This is obviously Apple's rules to getting on the iPhone (no competing with iTunes). In a perfect, free market world, it would really be cool to have this capability. My hopes aren't very high for seeing this anytime soon.

Overall, however, this is a great application for iPhone and while it could have come a few weeks earlier (pre-Black Friday), there is still time for Amazon to grab some mobile shoppers for the holiday season.

Ironically, Amazon is selling out of iPod Touches for the shopping season which can also run this app (without camera functionality obviously).

This story, "Amazon on Your iPhone: Yes and No" was originally published by Computerworld.

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