If commerce is the next frontier in mobile, then Amazon is doing its part with an application for the iPhone and iPod Touch that it made available yesterday.
The app has received high marks so far, and the standout is "Amazon Remembers," a feature that lets users take a picture of an item they want to remember for later. The photo gets filed away on the phone while Amazon tries to identify a match for it in its inventory.
While Amazon calls the new capability "experimental," customers will find other features they're familiar with in the app, like 1-Click and wish lists.
Amazon deserves credit for moving the handset toward becoming an intelligent assistant, said Gerry Purdy of Frost and Sullivan. "This is a good example of a whole class of products that make mobile become an intelligent client and provide services," he said. "In mobile, you've got to give people actionable content."
Mobile commerce has been slow to take off due to issues ranging from security worries to a lack of technical standards, although a few retailers have experimented with integrating camera phones into the shopping experience. This year Ralph Lauren launched a campaign that lets shoppers scan barcodes in its promotional media and get directed to the luxury retailer's mobile online store.