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QR Codes and Readers

Have you ever seen an advertisement or announcement that also had a weird looking barcode attached to it? It probably looked something like this:


These symbols are called a “QR��? code which stands for “Quick Response��? code. These codes have become very popular, showing up on everything from clothing advertisements to political action ads. So why are they so popular, and what do they do? Good Question. These codes are used to act like a barcode; they contain information such as web addresses or pertinent information about a person or event. For example, the code above contains the URL for the University at Albany’s library webpage. In order to “read��? the code one would need a Smartphone and an application that is designed to process these types of codes.

In general these applications will utilize the phone’s camera to view and “read��? the QR code. The application will identify the purpose of the code, whether it is informational, or contains a URL. The application will then ask the user if they would like to take action, such as following the URL or saving the information contained within the code. So, with that we get to the point of this post, to highlight a few QR code reader apps for your Smartphone and tablets. These applications are by no means the only options, but should get you started into the world of QR codes.

Let’s begin with the Android operating system, and the QR code reader that is considered one of the best for this OS. This application is simply titled “Barcode Scanner��? and it can read both QR codes as well as basic UPC codes you would find on many retail products. Like many others it allows you to scan QR codes and take action depending on the information contained within the code. This application also allows you to scan UPC codes and compare the price against other retailers and even online stores such as Amazon or Ebay!

For all you Apple users out there, the “Red Laser��? application is available for your iPhone, and it offers a ton of great features for code reading. This application also scans both QR and UPC barcodes, allowing you to take action on the QR or comparison shop with the UPC code. Also, because this is a library blog, “Red Laser allows you to scan a book barcode and it will find the book in a nearby library through the WorldCat system. This application will also allow you to create your own QR codes for posting to the web or printing and posting anywhere..

If you have an iPad, never fear, there are applications to read QR codes for you too! One of the best options is “Scan��? by QR Code City. This application is more focused on QR codes, and makes no mention of the ability to scan UPC codes. It will allow you to acquire the information held in the code and take the appropriate action. This is a simple, stripped down application that will work for all of your QR code reading needs.

Finally for Blackberry users, there are numerous QR code scanning application available to you. One of the best is ScanLife Barcode Reader which is capable of scanning QR, UPC, Datamatrix, and EZcode barcodes. Like many of the others will allow you to create your own codes as well as comparison shop on the internet using UPC codes. This is a powerful application and should fulfill all of your QR code reading desires!

For more information on QR codes as well as other recommendations for QR applications, here is an App Review that should put you on the right track. Have fun, and explore the world of QR codes, they can be powerful marketing tools for all types of organizations, events, and groups.

Blog post created by Benjamin Knowles