Rafe Recommends: Apps for dumb gadget shoppers
Get Amazon's Flow and the new Decide.com app to save yourself from spending too much.
No matter how many times I write that physical retail is the refuge of the dumb shopper, from time to time even I find myself in a Best Buy or CostCo, fondling the box of some new gadget, itching to buy it on the spot. I, too, am dumb.
Fortunately, there's an app for that. Several, in fact.
In addition to the multitude of shopping apps covered elsewhere on CNET (see the Related Stories box), I recommend two that are custom-made for the undisciplined electronics shopper.
First, Amazon's A9 Flow. Amazon already has another strong app for scanning prices in stores, but Amazon Flow is great for the casual in-store shopper since you barely have to hold still for the camera on your iPhone to get a fix on the product or barcode you're pointing at. It's just too easy to see if the price of what you're looking for on shelf in front of you is competitive with the online price. So get this app.
Second, Decide's new mobile app. Decide, which also has a good Web service, tells you if the price of an item you're looking at is predicted to hold steady, go up, or go down. If you are in a store more than a day before the gift-giving holiday you're shopping for, it will tell you the value of waiting. It will also compare online prices to prices at other physical stores near you. I like Decide, but it does require that you have enough time to make use of its feedback. If not, Decide can simply serve as a reminder to start your gift buying earlier next year.