Decks another not ready for prime time player

Spoiler alert! Decks is one of those free apps designed to enhance your online shopping experience. You choose the product list; Decks keeps you up-to-date. There is a small catch. There aren’t very many products you can track. Maybe if the app catches on things will improve.

When Apple first released the iPad, critics complained that no one could create anything with it. That criticism lasted until the critics, mostly Apple competitors and their die-hard supporters, came out with iPad knock-off tablets. The truth is, however, that users created stuff with their iPads from day one—mainly, commerce.

People no longer needed to lug their laptops around or squint at their iPhones and Crapberries1 (or pinch and rotate their phones to enlarge the text until it’s readable). They could sit down at Starbucks, launch their iPads and surf Amazon and the App Store.

I mention Amazon and the App Store because those are about the only two places you can connect to when you use Decks, the new shopping app designed to revolutionize the way you shop. And Zappos, who sells shoes, which I didn’t know until I tried out Decks. And the only access you have to Amazon or the App Store is for top rated apps, bestselling books and DVDs.

That’s it for now. Shoes, a few apps, books and movies. And I’ve only bought one pair of shoes in the last two years.

The shopping list is very narrow—books, apps, DVDs and shoes. Oh, and Groupon coupons. I forgot to mention Groupon (until now).

So why did I even bother to download, much less review Decks? Because I got five free mojo to play We Rule if I launched it. And I have to admit it has potential—provided more vendors sign on. This is why I’m starting with the drawbacks. If you’re a serious shopper, Decks isn’t ready for prime time. But it could be.

The biggest problem with Decks is that you can’t flag the products you want. The app shows some ability to restrict searches to more specific products, but even that’s hardly infallible. It really functions more like a slick digital catalogue, the kind Sears would send my parents so I that would spend hours obsessing over the toys and pester them ceaselessly the three months before Christmas for, well, just about everything in the catalogue that looked cool: space ranger stations with ray beams and three separate rocket ships, the Johnny Quest survival kit with the spy gear and official Race Bannon rubber straight razor, the Red Rider BB gun with the compass in the stock and real Wild West paper targets, the life-size Robby the Robot plastic see-through kit with genuine electronic lights and wind-up mechanism.

TextNone of this mattered, of course. My dad was so cheap that his idea of a Christmas stocking was a gym sock stuffed with two peppermint patties, a kazoo, an orange and Christmas tree tinsel he couldn’t fit on the tree. So I could dream all I wanted, but I would end up with the stocking stuffers and a rocket I could shoot from a straw. And now that I look through the books, apps and DVDs on Decks I realize I can’t afford any more cool presents for my grandkids than my Dad could for me.2

The Decks interface is pretty cool. Products are divided into different decks and the cards feature product photo and price on one side, product info on the other. You simply tap to flip cards, or swipe left or right to navigate through the cards. Swipe up or down to switch decks.

Each card contains product photo and price on one side, and product info on the other. You can order directly from the card.

Unfortunately, the interface is about all Decks has going for it. They need to get a lot more retailers involved and need to add search features that allow users to track more specific products. And even the search features aren’t all that effective. I did a search in Zappon for dress shoes and got dress shoes, casual shoes, walking shoes and even bright green athletic shoes.

I’m not sure how these managed to get included as dress shoes, but somehow, they did.

Still, it’s free, so I would advise you to go ahead and download it and play with it if you like to shop. If enough users place orders through Decks, they may expand their list of vendors and offer a shopping alternative that actually doesn’t send you back to your tried and true methods when you can’t find what you want.

Jenny Manytoes rates Decks

Jenny Manytoes isn’t sure whether to bunch her tail or take a nap. As it is now, Decks isn’t good for much. But if you love to shop and they get more vendors, it could become halfway decent. So we’ll just take a nap

The Jenny Manytoes Rating System

Jenny Manytoes, our polydactyl cat
  • When Jenny makes biscuits on a product she thinks she’s in heaven.
  • When Jenny purrs over a product she’s very happy.
  • When Jenny naps next to a product it’s okay with her.
  • When Jenny bunches her tail she can live with a product, but she has higher expectations.
  • When Jenny leaves it in the litter box….I don’t think I need to explain this one.

1I know, that was mean. After all, the Blackberry doesn’t just have apps, it has super apps. And it isn’t really a crapberry, it’s a perfectly fine phone. But doesn’t it sound good? Crapberry? This is how comedy works. You toss of a phrase, people laugh and don’t take it seriously. Unless they’re Rush fans.back
2In my dad’s defense, there are two kinds of Baptist Preacher’s Kids (BPK). Those whose dads work for big churches with generous salaries and those whose dads have to squeeze a raise from the deacons like blood from butter. Baptist Deacons were the forerunners of modern fiscal conservatives. They didn’t have to tithe but God forbid someone else’s tithes went to something other than a bigger church and fellowship hall.back

Contact me at Email iPad Envy, or
Email The Hidden Grimoire.


About Phillip T Stephens

Phillip T. Stephens disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle twenty years before he was born, creating a time travel paradox so confusing it remains unspoken between physicists and sci-fi writers to this day. Follow @stephens_pt
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