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Amazon launches Dash, a home barcode scanner

Most companies would be happy just launching one headline-grabbing device in a week, but not Amazon. The online retail giant has put up a promotional page for a new barcode scanner called the Amazon Dash, designed to help AmazonFresh customers stock up on groceries more easily than ever. The small 6-inch stick lets you scan item barcodes or simply speak your order, and it connects directly to the Web via Wi-Fi.

Some of this functionality is already available through Amazon’s suite of smartphone applications, but the Dash brings a new level of convenience and ease-of-use. As the demo video makes pretty clear, it’s also designed to be simple enough for kids to use, though you do need to confirm your purchases through the Web or a smartphone app — presumably to stop your youngsters ordering a crate load of apples that you don’t need. For the time being, the Dash is only being sent out to a limited number of users, but you can register your interest with Amazon.

Amazon says over 5,000 items can be ordered through the Dash stick, though for now it’s linked to the company’s experimental AmazonFresh same-day delivery service. As AmazonFresh is only live in California and Washington state at the moment (with rumors of a New York launch in the pipeline), it will be a while before most of us get our hands on this magic scanner. Nevertheless, it fits right in with Amazon’s hardware strategy: low-cost, simple devices that enable users to make more purchases and make them more easily. Amazon will be hoping that the Dash does for groceries what the Kindle has done for ebooks.

Are you tempted by Amazon’s vision of a wireless shopping future? Or do you enjoy the trip down to the grocery store too much to give it up? Let us know your thoughts on the Dash in the comments.

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