You can see the preview of a slick new app called Torrent Droid over at androidandme.com. The first winner of Android Bounty, allows you to walk up, garb a DVD (say, in Wal-Mart), snap a picture of the UPC code, and choose to have that movie downloaded via torrent to your home machine. With minimal effort Torrent Droid allows the scanned movie to be cued for download, so it’s ready for you when you get home later.
The way Torrent Droid works is not unlike how many applications already utilize QR Codes. Although not a big hit here in the states yet, QR Codes could do the same thing and more since they have the ability to hold more data than a simple bar code. Where Torrent Droid beats QR codes is that it works with an existing, open system an isn’t dependent on the understanding (or lack thereof) of a new technology in an industry that evolves with all the speed and grace of a Glacier.
This is something that could be really cool if it were to catch on and be implemented by a large company like Netflix, where you could add movies to your cue, or flag them for immediate download. If could be applied to music downloads as well, or any number of consumer products that have barcodes on them already. Stores do this internally for gift registries, so it only makes sense that mobile devices should be able to create lists of stuff you want. Since you can get barcode data for free, there’s really nothing but development stopping someone from creating a cool immersive application that does that.
The downside of Torrent Droid though is that the MPAA and even the RIAA would go absolutely insane over it. Bit Torrents are the bain of their existence, and they have been working very diligently to try and neutralize this threat (as they see it). That’s not to say that this isn’t a cool application, because it is – and it has potential to really open up a lot of possibilities with this type of user interaction within the retail world.