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Since we launched this blog in July 2007 we have followed the evolution of the QR-Codes readers. The lack of compatible readers has been holding the development of 2D codes back as well as the lack of prepared terminals, the price of the mobile internet connection, a lack of culture when installing applications and the mobilization of content (we’ll soon launch a post about these factors and the current situation).

The availability of applications has already improved and so has its quality. In the Apple Store and Android Market Place we have currently counted over 250 reader Apps with different quality and features, but they all read perfectly fine the QR-Codes.

Reading a QR-Code… is no longer an issue!

qr-code readers

I-Nigma Reader from 3GVision stands out as, besides being one of the first readers that came out, it offers a very competitive tool for a host of devices, manufacturers and many platforms for free.

After reviewing several of them we have abandoned the attempt to make a comparison, as it would have been a task a boring and useless task. Instead, today we will make an effort of eclecticism and imagination and we will “draw” the reader of the future and write a wishlist.

Reader+camera or camera+reader
We believe in the merge between the reader and the device’s camera. This is something we were aready defending back in November 2007 in “From the plug-in to the melt-in.” The camera is the eye of the smartphone and an application for each use tends to be inefficient.

The current readers satisfy the customer needs but let’s go further. The mock up below (we have based it on an iPhone as an example) shows an option to enable or disable the codes recognition (could be activated by default) that we capture with our phone’s camera. It is one of the possible ways that this could be done, but the concept is the merge, the “melt-in”.

So that readers move from being plug-ins coupled to an existing software part of the phone, your system and fuse (melt-in) with him this widespread access will not be a reality. The good news is that many are beginning to Nokia handsets incorporating them in the main series and this seems to “melt-in process.”


These are the basic features that we should have (as far as possible standard) camera software of the future of a smartphone:

  • Take photos
  • Create videos
  • Interpret codes (detect them without taking a picture and havin to process it)
  • Integration with File System photo albums, etc..

These features could be enhanced with plugins, updates, or using other applications.

On the other hand, in the configuration section of the camera should be able to specify the following parameters (perhaps we pass any):

  • QR-Codes/Datamatrix
  • Access the URL automatically or display stations and ask for confirmation
  • Open the file directly or ask if you want to download the file and the destination.
  • Automatically dial or display number and ask for confirmation
  • Send SMS automatically or display content and prompt
  • Save history / log catch

Over time may not be necessary to switch the interface of the camera, but to create the mechanics of using and presenting the application believe it would be an interesting resource.


This blog is not linked to MC2, the OMA nor W3C but from what I know (maybe we’re wrong) there is still no document that standardizes the information that you can embed it within.

Simple information like a URL gives few problems, but if we enter the realm of vCards, MECARD. Ics, geo-coordinates, etc … becomes more complex. If any of these organizations, which we believe should take the lead on these issues, they do not end up making Google (as usual).

The emergence of unique readers for isolated functions (ex. capture contacts MECARDS / vCard) that do not recognize the other possibilities offered by a code makes the reader is a “me-too” that adds value.

Currently the project ZXing offers the possibility of generating codes with a great variety of functions, but not all of them are understood by readers.

  • URL
  • Event Calendar
  • Geolocation Corodenadas
  • SMS
  • Phone
  • Text
  • WIFI Info

Who will develop the reader of the future? Bets are open!


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