HTC Hero With Sense UI Takes On Apple’s iPhone

Big news in the cell phone world this week. On Monday T-Mobile announced the MyTouch 3G as the follow-up to the G1. This morning HTC, maker of the MyTouch 3G as well as a slew of other phones, announced a new device called the Hero. While the two devices both run Android and sport nearly the exact same specs (MyTouch 3g specs, HTC Hero specs), the Hero gets a sparkling new interface which will make even Apple die-hards drool:

The MyTouch 3G will go on sale in the US in August while the superior Hero device will only be available in Europe and Asia by the end of the summer. There are rumors that the Sense UI will be available for the MyTouch 3G, but that could be a long time. While this could be my next phone I might just wait to see how some of the rumored Android phones pan out like the Samsung Bigfoot, Motorola Morrison, and the Samsung i7500. At least there are finally phones to choose from now.

Grocery Shopping With A Scan Gun At Giant

Grocery shopping got a little bit smarter and a whole lot more fun at a nearby Giant. After a day of errands at Arundel Mills mall, Kristina and I stopped at the Giant off of New Hampshire Ave. This store has the Scan It gun which lets shoppers bag their groceries and calculate their total as they shop. We didn’t see a lot of people using them but we found it easy to use and quite handy.

When you first walk in to the store you see this…

The Giant Scan It Center is where you scan your Giant Bonus Card and pick up a scanner.

This is where you scan your bonus card, pick up a Scan It gun, and grab some plastic bags to fill while you shop. Before you put an item in your cart you simply hold the yellow button down and scan the barcode with the gun. It shows you the price of the item and adds it to your total. Removing an item is as simple as selecting Remove and then scanning the item again.

The Scan It keeps track of the total as you shop.

Scanning fruits and vegetables is a little tricky since they don’t have barcodes on them. There are produce scales around to select and weigh your produce and then a printer prints out a barcode sticker which you can scan.

Buying produce requires you to weigh it on a special scale which prints out a barcode to scan.

At the end of your trip you scan a special barcode at the register and hand the scanner to the cashier. Then you just pay and off you go!

The only negative aspect of the process is the Scan It device displays specials with a loud cash register sound every so often. Most of the specials weren’t relevant to what we were shopping for. The brochure says “there are extra savings exclusively with SCAN IT!” but I didn’t notice anything. Kristina and I shop with a list which means we tend to ignore anything that isn’t on it.

Ads cycle through the Scan It device

Technology like this is a good stop gap until RFID technology overtakes the old fashioned barcode. I think within the next 10 years, there will be a console on every grocery cart that tracks what items go into the cart as well as helping shoppers identify where things are located. Having more information while I shop is a welcome improvement. This eliminates any confusion about pricing and helps us stay within our grocery budget. Now there will be no more surprises at the checkout.

I hope this technology makes it to the Giant where we usually shop at, though we might just go a little bit further to this Giant for our weekly grocery trips.