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HolidayBuyer's Guide

IBM partners with Honeywell to create mobile shopping app

New retail technology by IBM lets shoppers scan items to purchase with a smartphone and then head directly to a self-checkout station to pay.

The IBM Mobile shopper app runs on the Google Android and Apple iOS. IBM

IBM is introducing its own in-store shopping companion app.

Dubbed the "digital shopping assistant," this mobile app allows consumers to scan items they want to purchase at retail stores with their smartphone and then use an IBM self-checkout station to pay.

"Retailers can now deliver a more personalized shopping experience that is less of a chore and more of a convenience for consumers," IBM Retail Store Solutions vice president John Gaydac said in a statement. "By enabling consumers to scan and check-out a wide variety of products at their own pace, retailers can not only create a more customized shopping environment, but also increase in-store traffic."

The app runs on Google Android and Apple iOS and uses Honeywell Mobile bar code decoding software that lets shoppers scan any type of bar code found on retail items. Along with the app, shoppers will also get digital coupons, loyalty programs and special promotions at the IBM self-checkout stations. This "digital shopping assistant" app is available as of today.

There's no doubt that developing mobile software is now one of the key concentrations of tech companies, with the influx of mobile apps and payment systems and digital wallets. In fact, a report on U.S. patents last month found that about 21 percent of all patents in the first quarter of this year were for mobile technologies, with Samsung, Microsoft, and IBM leading the charge.

Still, it seems a lot of kinks have to be ironed out -- like properly trained clerks, fixes on glitchy code, and more user-friendly interference -- before consumers completely catch on. So far, none of these new technologies have been a complete success right out of the gate.

However, a new report by market research firm NPD does show that Android owners are increasingly using their phones to shop and mobile-payment apps, instead of digital wallets, seem to be the way to go.