Everyone will be scanning barcodes with phones soon enough

ScanBuy announces barcode scanning functionality for feature phones

First there was RedLaser, an app that turns your iPhone into a barcode scanner. Now just about every smartphone can do it, but what about those approximately 70 percent of U.S.-based feature phone owners?

Well, the folks at ScanBuy want them to scan too and today announced a new service that lets any cell phone with a camera start scanning QR, Datamatrix, EZcode, and UPC codes. The service is launching on AT&T, Sprint and Verizon Wireless, and you can bet that the carriers will be putting a lot of marketing muscle behind this new tech.

When I purchased my Samsung Tab from Verizon, I was happily surprised to see a whole slew of barcodes under glass at the cash register. It seems that this store in particular encourages people to start scanning with their Android phone moments after they activate it. Will AT&T, Sprint and Verizon try something similar with feature phones?

Speaking of feature phones, that market is about to get shook up, too, with Google, and now the Nokia / Microsoft partnership putting its laser sights on it.

It will be interesting to see if the concept of a feature phone ends up disappearing soon. Pretty soon it won't matter what your phone is--everyone will have the same functionality. The differentiator will be how much you pay for what you do with it.