Amazon has launched a handheld LED barcode scanner, to allow users of its fledgling AmazonFresh grocery service to pick out low-running household items and add them to a shopping list.

The Amazon Dash device, which will be distributed freely to Fresh customers, is Wi-Fi enabled and also has a microphone for adding barcode-less items like fruit and vegetables.

The idea is for users to carry the dash scanner around the house and pick out items that need replenishing before completing the order online using the AmazonFresh website or smartphone apps.

It's not just household items among the 500,000 available from the AmazonFresh next-day delivery service. The preview video below shows a user ordering guitar strings.

Sadly, for the vast majority of interested parties, getting ahold of a Dash scanner will be pretty tricky as the Fresh service is only available in parts of California and Washington State in the United States. Dash itself is only being trialled in LA and San Francisco.

Convenience

The launch is further indication that Amazon is prepared to make significant losses on hardware in order to make the convenience of ordering from Amazon preferable for the consumers.

Can the company's successes with this approach in ereaders, tablets and also most recently with its Fire TV set-top box, give it the upper hand over brick and mortar grocery stores?

Via Engadget