Now that Google is using the two-dimensional bar codes as part of its local businesses listings program, it's all the more reason for an app to help read them.
Former CNET contributor Don Reisinger is a technology columnist who has covered everything from HDTVs to computers to Flowbee Haircut Systems. Besides his work with CNET, Don's work has been featured in a variety of other publications including PC World and a host of Ziff-Davis publications.
QR Code, a two-dimensional bar code storing addresses and URLs, is a widely used technology in Japan and elsewhere that can be scanned with camera phones equipped with the appropriate reader.
It's likely to gain ground quickly in the U.S. now that Google has sent out a QR code to 100,000 of the most popular companies in its Local Business Center. When those companies display the QR code, customers can use code-scanning applications on their iPhones and other devices to retrieve the firm's individual Google listing.
The only problem is, many of those QR code-reading apps for the iPhone just don't do a good job. That prompted me to sift through more than a dozen QR code readers to find some of the best. I came up with four.
QR Code it up
NeoReader NeoReader is one of the most useful apps in this roundup. The program is simple, it's intuitive, and it does a relatively good job of reading QR codes.
NeoReader is an extremely simple app. When it's open, you need only to point your iPhone's camera at the QR Code, click the scan option, and you're all set. Within a few seconds, the app delivers the unique content directly to your iPhone. It works with QR (obviously), as well as Data Matrix, and Aztec bar codes. To ensure the app is working properly, you can even go to NeoReader's home page and scan the QR Code examples to see if it's returning the right results. But beware that the application works best on iPhones running OS 3.0 or higher. NeoReader is free, so it's worth trying out.
Optiscan Optiscan's developers say the application is the fastest QR Code scanner in the App Store. That's not necessarily true. But it's certainly quick.
Overall, Optiscan is a really nice QR Code reader. The application is able to capture QR codes on monitors, paper, and other places where you might find the code. Upon scanning a QR code within the app, you can view the company's QR code information. You can also save that data for later, so you don't have to come back to the QR code every time you want to view it. Even better, Optiscan allows you to share QR codes with others. It's a full-featured app that should satisfy most users. It costs $1.99.
QR App The other three services in this roundup do a much better job of scanning and reading QR codes. But in the end, I decided to add QR App because it did an adequate job.
QR App doesn't have all the bells and whistles you'll find in the other mentioned apps. Instead, the app simply scans an image and delivers the result. That's it. It's made to be simple and, for the most part, it succeeds. QR App free to try.
QuickMark Although this is a short list of QR code readers, QuickMark takes the top prize. It's full-featured, easy to use, and best of all, it costs just $0.99.
QuickMark makes it quick and easy to read QR codes on your iPhone. After it's scanned, the app then provides the information it collects from the code. Everything you do with the app is kept in its history folder for viewing at a later time. You can even create your own QR codes to share data on your iPhone with other QR-code-reader users. QuickMark is recommend by Google for good reason and is worth the $0.99.