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The evolution of 2D code systems and cellphones technologies in Europe/US and Japan has been opposite, that is, while Europe/US developed the first 2D codes, Japan mobile technology and connectivity has spread out so much faster.
Maybe that is why Datamatrix defined in 1989 left out of its specs Kanji symbols (japanese) and make them useless for this community. Denso-wave then developed QR-Codes in 1994 and it allowed the usage and growth of this technology in Japan.

If we go through Semapedia white-paper we find three main differences between them:

  1. The minimun size of a Datamatrix code in smaller than any other. “Datamatrix has proven to be the most space efficient of all 2D symbologies”.
  2. QR-Codes can embed kanji signs (japanese symbols)
  3. QR are codes rrrrule!! (this one is not in the report. We added it ourselves because it’s true)

The report is 5 pages long and we truly recommend reading it (specially the part against proprietary codes).

 Space efficiency
This advantage is not such when talking about cellphones. If we try to read a very small code there are usually focus /macro problems and a very small code is impossible to read. In the other hand the amount of data we may want to embed will be in most of the cases a URL.

Densowave developed Micro QR Code for reduced surfaces, but we don’t believe this is going to be critical on the end-user.

Before the Internet the physical world limits allowed standards not to be very strict (or at least to be slightly different from a geographical/idiomatic area to another). Now, world is more interconnected than ever and if you leave out symbols, cultural aspects, etc… that before may seem irrelevant now can put you out of business.

We don’t know how QRs manage other symbols (e.g. arabic). If anyone has information we will add it to this post.

 QR-Code rrrrule!!!.
This one is clearly a subjective advantage, but in a market where efficiency is a must, esthetics are a key-factor and in this aspect QR-Codes are generating more traffic in blogs and creating more trends that Datamatrix in the end-user.

We do believe on the coexistence of this two 2D codes. The fact that exists more than one open-source alternative balances the system and avoids temptations on charging money for using this technology.

Main 2D-Code readers can decode both QRs and Datamatrix.

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