So many cell phones come with cameras today that barcode reader developers felt pressure to come up with ways to use those cameras to speed up shopping and make consumer lives easier. It wasn't long before barcode reader companies introduced an inexpensive barcode reader application for use with cell phones. While this technology isn't quite mainstream yet, the future is promising for consumers with cell phone barcode readers. The system requires special 2d barcodes that are optimized for cell phone barcode readers.

Cell phones with camera capabilities often have the ability to play music and even movies making them perfect for barcode reader add-ons. By using a cell phone with a barcode reader, a movie or music catalogue could set up where each title is represented by a barcode. Then the cell phone barcode readers would play a clip or MP3 just by scanning the barcode label. These barcode readers could also be set up for books in such a way that the title, and author information as well as a short summery would be revealed when scanned with a barcode reader. These tidbits of information could give consumers a way to know ahead of time whether or not they wanted to buy the whole item. Once the decision is made and the media is bought, music and movies could be catalogued in the consumers' personal collection and organized with the use of barcode readers on their cell phones.

Cell phone barcode readers also offer applications for personal finance. If stores were to include a barcode on the receipts that could be read with cell phone barcode readers, consumers would be able to instantly upload purchases into personal financial software on their computers. This use of barcode readers could also come in handy when trying to decide which receipts needed to be kept for tax purposes.

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