Scan tiny barcodes with the Q+ for iPhone -

This has got to be the most obscure add–on for the Apple iPhone yet. An external lens which improves the ability of the original iThingey to scan barcodes. And it comes from a Taiwanese company, of course - Simpleact Incorporated.

As the manufacturer says, "Since a generic macro lens could achieve different results for different phones (due to varying camera lens capability), we decided to build the lens for the iPhone version differently from the standard ones to help optimise camera images for the iPhone."

The result is the Q+ for iPhone for the iPhone which provides an external close up lens for enhancing the iPhone's camera lens capability for viewing small barcodes at close range.

Why on Earth would you want to scan small (1D) barcodes with the iThingey? The answer lies with price comparison sites. A whole bunch of web sites have sprung up to help consumers find the best price on a particular item.

An example here would be Snaptell which enables users to scan in the barcodes from DVDs, and computer games and then take them to relevant review sites.

Once you're convinced you actually want to buy the product you've just scanned, Snaptell hooks you up to another The Find site which should then point you in the general direction of the cheapest supplier in your vicinity.

Techeye hasn't actually heard of anyone saying that Snaptell struggles to read the 1D barcodes on books. We suspect the barcodes Simpleact has got in mind appear on electronic/electrical components which geeks like to track down.

The Q+ isn't very pretty but then you can buy it online for a mere $7.50 here.