The 22 August 2009 edition of The Economist includes the article “Snap it, click it, use it” which describes how mobile phones are increasingly being used to read bar codes on products which then present detailed information to consumers. The article begins:
NEGOTIATING his way across a crowded concourse at a busy railway station, a traveller removes his phone from his pocket and, using its camera, photographs a bar code printed on a poster. He then looks at the phone to read details of the train timetable displayed there. In Japan, such conveniences are commonplace, and almost all handsets come with the bar code-reading software already loaded. In America and Europe, though, they are only just being introduced.
See the full article at http://www.economist.com/sciencetechnology/displaystory.cfm?story_id=14257721