Friday, 6 November 2009

Barcode scanning for iPhone - anyone help?

Regular readers will know about our desire to take Tesco Finder, our store & product finding app for iPhone, on a journey where we will add new innovative features and functions based on customer feedback.

One of these functions is to use the iPhone's camera to perform barcode scanning. An innovative solution comes from Red Laser who have their own application demonstrating the technology.

However, we've uncovered that Red Laser use some 'hidden' iPhone API calls to make their technology work, and that some other applications using their libraries to add barcode-scanning functionality have, I understand, had their apps rejected by Apple as a result.

This blog now gets accessed by just over 2,000 different IP addresses a day (mostly over RSS) - so I'm putting it to work to find an organisation who provides iPhone barcode scanning with 'legal' API calls that could help us.

It would be great for any organisation who provides a barcode scanning library for iPhone to get in touch with me with a view to deploying their work in Tesco Finder - and you can be sure that if it works we'll loudly proclaim your name as well as 'open doors' for you.

The only caveat is that your library must only use published iPhone/Cocoa-Touch API calls and not in any way try and use hacked internal knowledge of iPhone.

If your organisation doesn't do this but you know someone who does also please get in touch.

To contact me:
  • Email me at (which has a larger storage capacity than my work email!)
  • Call our new R&D Ideas In Confidence phone/fax line which is (UK) 07092 192022, (World) +44 7092 192022.


  1. So all you're offering is the glory of writing software for Tesco? That's lame.

  2. Have you seen pic2shop ?

    The actual scanning technology seems faster and more accurate than redlasers.

    Really hope you can pull it off and we get to see barcode scanning integrated.

  3. Hi Ben,

    We have to work our tiny R&D budget hard, that's all (notwithstanding the fact that I personally do find writing software for Tesco glorious!).


  4. Thanks for the info, 512bytes.


  5. Have you seen

    Just found it in app store and seems to work.

  6. Stripeylines is an app on iTunes that works well and are requiring retailers to contact them to be added to their scanning database.



As this blog grows in readership - and because it carries the Tesco brand - I have had to become more careful about the sort of comments that are acceptable. The good news is that I'm a champion of free speech so please be as praising or as critical as you wish! The only comments I DON'T allow through are:

1. Comments which criticise an individual other than myself, or are critical of an organisation other than Tesco. This is simply because they cannot defend themselves so is unfair and possibly libellous. Comments about some aspect of Tesco being better/worse than another equivalent organisation are allowed as long as you start by saying "in my personal opinion.." or "I think that...". ... followed by a "...because.." and some reasoned argument.

2. Comments which are totally unrelated to the context of the original article. If I have written about a mobile app and you start complaining about the price of potatoes then your comment isn't going stay for long!

3. Advertising / web links / spam.

4. Insulting / obscene messages.

Ok, rules done - now it's your go: