Sprint Nextel said Thursday it is offering a new application that will let subscribers search for products in nearby retail stores directly from their handsets.
The service, which uses embedded GPS (Global Positioning System) chips in phones, allows shoppers to use their cell phones to find any of 85 million products available at 30,000 stores across the country. People type in a keyword, product name, model number or UPC number to search for the product.
The application, which can be downloaded onto certain Sprint phones, gives the nearest location and offers prices and promotional information. Shoppers can also save the items they want on a shopping list and share the lists with others via text messaging.
Sprint will charge subscribers $1.99 a month to use the application. This fee is on top of a data plan, which costs $15 to $25 per month, that subscribers also must have to access the application.
The application, called Slifter, was developed by New York City-based GPShopper. Slifter is already available for free via SMS wireless Web or Java application downloads on almost any carrier's phone. But until now consumers have had to type in their ZIP code to find products and stores. Through the partnership with Sprint, the application will automatically discover a person's location using GPS tracking.
Sprint already offers several GPS-enabled services. Last month, it launched a search service from InterActiveCorp called Ask Mobile GPS, which lets people use Citysearch to find local businesses like bars and restaurants. It also offers access to Ticketmaster to find and buy local concert or sporting event tickets. Sprint charges $9.99 a month for the service.
In March, the company began offering its Sprint Navigation service, which provides turn-by-turn directions for free to subscribers who have a data plan that costs $20 a month or more. Sprint also offers a Family Locator service that lets parents track their children's phones in real time.