Yesterday, Google began distributing QR code window stickers to the top searched 190,000 local businesses throughout the US. This is big news for making QR codes more popular in North America, as our friends in Japan are already benefiting from them, having implemented the technology on a massive scale.
So what QR code reader for BlackBerry is the best? Here are some of the QR code readers for BlackBerry that I’ve found and reviewed. If you know of others, comment them and let us know what you think.
Although I use the Bold 9700, I found most QR code readers weren’t updated to support OS 5. Therefore I’ve gone through them with the Bold 9000.
Downloading NeoReader is simple, just visit get.neoreader.com from your browser and install.
When it comes to reading the QR code, NeoReader did a fantastic job. There are several options for the QR code reader such as Click (takes a picture and analyzes), Enter Code (manually enter barcode numbers) and History (history of the barcodes you have scanned). I found navigation could be a little better, as the back button didn’t do anything. The UI for this app is really clean and easy to look at. Another downside is all the personal info they ask for. I assume it all goes to your user profile somewhere, but I just wasn’t interested in inputting the data.
To download BeeTagg, visit get.beetagg.com from your BlackBerry browser.
Once you boot up BeeTagg, it powers on the camera and without prompt, you know you’re supposed to be taking a picture of the QR code. This is where the app really failed me. I kept getting errors because I wasn’t filling the frame properly with the code, but there was no indicator while I was taking the picture as to where the code should be. The UI for this app and the end user experience made it really difficult to capture the code. Also, after I took the picture, it prompted me to press 4 to start the camera but pressing 4 did nothing.
To download UpCode, visit www.upcode.mobi from your BlackBerry browser.
UpCode asks for permissions that other applications did not ask for. While I can’t be certain why it’s asking for me to allow “personal information” changes, I’m a very trusting person and allowed it anyways. I was worried not accepting would affect the review but perhaps you should not allow just to be safe.
In terms of functionality, UpCode was smooth and very good at reading the QR code. The UI is simple, just fill the frame with the QR code and click the trackball. It didn’t take long for the code to be read, and the app sent me to the appropriate site.
To download, go to www.okotag.mobi and scroll down to the bottom of the page for the registration and download link. This was by far one of the more annoying apps to download. Once I had created an account, it took some poking around and reclicking the download button before it recognized I had an account and was ready to download the app.
Once you boot up the app, you get 2 main options: Decode and My Tags. Clicking Decode brings up the camera and after taking a picture of the QR code, nothing happened. I then clicked “end” to back out of the camera and it brought me back to the app. Without knowing what to do, I just assumed I had to click Decode again, which brought up a “Please, wait…” notification that never ended. I checked My Tags but all it said was “No pixes yet stored”. Whatever that means.
To download ScanLife, visit getscanlife.com from your BlackBerry browser. ScanLife is a really well designed application and the UI looks very clean. It has several options including Scan, History, About, Share ScanLife and Settings. The settings simply lets you toggle the sound. ScanLife did a good job of reading the code and when read, displayed a message saying “This code is not registered or was created from an unknown source.” It then lets you continue to the site. Overall, ScanLife is a really great app.
Overall, NeoReader is the best. The app works really well and the user interface is simple. I highly recommend it to all BlackBerry users.
UPDATE: It’s sort of a tie between NeoReader and ScanLife. I would say ScanLife is probably an all around more useful app because it can handle a wide variety of codes. On the other hand, I found the scanning process much easier with NeoReader, as it was more automated.
UPDATE (December 28th, 2010): Recently, Motek released Code Muncher, a free, ad-supported QR code reader that lets you quickly and easily scan 2D QR codes. If all you’re going to scan is simple QR codes with basic URLs or contact information, this is a great app.