Mar 20 AT 4:31 PM Taylor Wimberly 54 Comments

Fun With QR Codes For Google Android.

If you own a T-Mobile G1 Phone, chances are you have used one of the applications that reads barcodes.  ShopSavvy and CompareEverywhere are the two most popular applications that make use of scanning.  Each one allows the user to take a snapshot of a product UPC using the built in camera, then compare prices on the web.

Both programs make use of an open source software from ZXing (“Zebra Crossing”).  Other Android developers can use intents to bring the functionality of Barcode Scanner into their own program.  One example of this would be Torrent Droid, which was the winner of our first Android Bounty.

Sharing Information with a QR Code.

Sharing Information with a QR Code.

In addition to normal UPCs, ZXing has added support for the following codes.

  • UPC-A and UPC-E
  • EAN-8 and EAN-13
  • Code 39
  • Code 128
  • QR Code
  • Data Matrix (‘alpha’ quality)
  • ITF

A QR Code (“Quick Response”) is a 2D barcode that can store much more information than a standard UPC.  Inside a QR Code you can find text, hyperlinks, contact information, geo location, and more.  They are capable of storing up to 250 characters.  QR Codes have become common in Japan, but have yet to take off in the United States.

One of the cool uses of QR Codes can be found via the share option in Barcode Scanner for Android.  By pressing menu then share, users are able to easily send contact infomation, bookmarks, and text from their clipboard to other G1 phones.  Users can create their own QR codes from one of the free online generators.

Scanning a QR Code From the Web

Scanning a QR Code From the Web

After you create your own QR code, there are many creative uses.  They can be placed on the back of business cards so that your contact information can be scanned to someone’s phone in seconds.  Advertisers can place them in print media to send customers to their product website.  Bands could place them on the back of a CD case allowing you to hear an audio preview or purchase concert tickets.  Secret messages can be hidden inside for people to find.

I’m already planning to place a QR code on my next order of business cards.  We might even use them in some future promotions too.  What other innovative uses can you come up with?

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Sander

    I’d be the first, but I don’t qualify for both requirements ;)

    • blueicy

      thank you for sharing.I’ve tried lots of online QR code generators and readers. These are by far my favorite tools for making and reading QR codes .I have found a free online barCode scanner online to make my own barcodes for products 。 and it is really convenient and useful. I just want to share it with you, everybody, maybe you can try it someday

  • Danny

    can they still put headphone jack in the HTC Magic ???????
    For the Final Model ??

  • Demi

    I want a free screen protector.


    • Taylor Wimberly


  • Wayne

    Not the first but figure it can’t hurt…”I want a free screen protector”

  • Mervyn

    QR codes are cool and there a number ways to use them both in print and online. I think has implemented them ingeniously to take G1users directly to a specific app on the android marketplace. I started using QR codes on my site’s about page so readers can scan in my contact information.

  • James

    Nice to see the word spreading about QR Codes!

    If you are interested in doing ‘more’ with QR Codes, check out our site

    You can print your codes on t-shirts and other apparel, manage your mobile content behind the codes (like your contact info, your music, …) and more.
    hope you like it!

  • Puny Weakling

    Here’s video of using Barcode Scanner and the QR codes on to launch right into Android Market.


  • miamiman

    I want to geocode the person doing the scanning of the qr code with gps enabled phones. And get back time/date/lat/long. Is anybody doing this?

    • Tim

      That kind of data would have to be allowed by the phone (and user) and I don’t believe there’s any standard format qrcode to request that information (like the general standards for providing email, contact, link info).

      • K Wiley

        You could use one of the URL shortening/redirecting services that provides analytics. They can track general location via IP address, and you can have a unique target address for each QR code you generate (one for each branch of your marketing effort).

        Simply: For each QR Code you want to put somewhere (one for a business card, one for a CD case, another for a show poster), generate a short URL with a service that provides the proper analytics. Then you can have very specific data tracking, including date/time the code was scanned, some regional location data, and a direct guide of which of your QR Codes is getting scanned the most often.

        Optional You could get your own custom URLs on your own web service and install your own analytics software to track it all in one place and maintain control over your branding. That’s what I plan to do… after we finish our new album and DVD.

  • Tim

    I use bookmarklets/firefox extensions to get a qrcode link to the page I’m viewing, nice to not have to type it in on the phone.

    And I’ll have a qrcode on my next set of business/calling cards. (Did some for my brother a few months back.)

    I’ve also see them used as the basis of games – scan the qrcode to eliminate other players in a kind of scenario game.

  • Gammax

    oh, bussness cards, I like that one, im trying to get a job so what ever helps my get one. I like.

  • John

    QR Code’s are so cool. I really like the tool from mskynet for generating codes:

  • Evan Schoepke

    I have a bunch of novel ideas for qr codes and 3d augmented reality combinations. Specifically I have a idea of how you could update the info given by certain qr codes so that people would be able to download and contribute media as well!
    I need folks working in this field to contact me so we can talk….

  • superkikim

    Business cards, business cards… Ok, but then we need an app to add the scanned code directly to the contacts ….

    • http://Website Jon

      All you need is a barcode scanner app for your phone, easy to find and free.

  • Tim

    I am thinking about starting an online/offline gaming concept on for a while but that market has to mature a little before that’s viable I think. (think of scavenger hunts, real-life shoot-m-up games with a QR code on your back, etc.)

  • Mike

    Mskynet just added support for direct Android Market links to our API. The one below will search for PicSay

    • http://Website paul

      Nice, that’s so cool! I really like the other icons they have as well.. The android logo is a really nice touch.

  • Dwan Ellington

    I want a screen protector

  • Patrick Donnelly


    hey, if anyone is interested more about learning about QR, I have been making custom designed QR barcodes at

    Please check it out.


  • jimeh

    “I want a free screen protector.”

    …But I don’t live in the US :(… lol

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  • http://Website Maurice McCray


  • http://Website minime

    Hi, I would lile to create a QR code for calling me instantly. A vcard is the nearest thing I found so far, but it is not what I need. I was able to encode my number successfully in a QR code, but there is no reader who would interpret it correctly and start a phone call…any ideas?

    • http://Website Peter

      try this, only thing is doesn’t embed the ‘+’ in international telephone numbers (i,e. +447700000000) so would recommend using ’00′ instead or just the national level number if thats who you are targeting

      worked fine for me, number appears ready to dial, person just has to hit ‘send’

  • pravin mohol

    qr code has too many application ,but there are 90% application has problem with authentication ……so how can i solve the problem with authentication ..e.g like vehical registration application…..replay

  • http://Website staff

    I use quickmark for android and it work for me!

  • http://Website jorge

    I love “QR Droid” fro Android to generate and decode QR codes :) even QR images saved in my Nexus

  • gabriel

    I’m actually doing a QR video game….
    1/29/2011 …

  • http://Website Amit

    I’m selling QR Code TShirt with customable personalized message
    The most Geeky tshirt around now…

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  • http://Website Gylaine


  • http://Website Aung

    I want a free screen protector

  • also create & shares QR codes from your Android, check it out! Would love some feedback.

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