Today ams AG and Mobeam announced a strategic partnership meant to accelerate the enablement of smartphones to transmit barcodes readable by all POS laser scanners. The partnership will provide an integrated solution that consists of ams light sensors and Mobeam light-based beaming technology.

The partnership will allow handset makers to fully support mobile commerce applications that use barcodes with coupons, loyalty cards, gift cards and tickets. The solution is being demonstrated at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week.

For retailers, the ams-Mobeam partnership could mean the pending demise of paper coupons that require manual sorting and months of waiting for reimbursement. To date "mobile couponing" has been problematic because the vast majority of in-store laser scanners cannot scan the 1D barcodes displayed on mobile phones.

The problem stems from the fact that smartphones use emissive displays from which a common POS barcode reader cannot capture barcode data. To solve this problem, the partnership integrates Mobeam's technology with ams' digital light sensor optical module. The ams TMD3990 module uses the same type of proximity IR LED that is already used in smartphones today to disable the touch-screen display.

"The combination of Mobeam technology and ams sensors will give smartphone makers a single, accurate and powerful integrated solution to participate in the growing mobile couponing and mobile commerce markets," said ams CEO John Heugle. "Our customers look to us to help them create value and differentiation in their products and markets they serve, and we believe this relationship with Mobeam does just that."

Full production of the TMD3990, which combines color light sensing, proximity detection and IR LED barcode transmit function, is scheduled for the third quarter of this year.

"We are incredibly excited to join forces with ams to help move the entire industry towards true mobile commerce," said Chris Sellers, Mobeam CEO. "This partnership with ams will make it easier to integrate our cost-effective Mobeam technology in smartphones." 

Read more about POS.

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