Motek, the company behind the popular screencapture app Screen Muncher, has recently released a QR code reader called Code Muncher. The app plays off the marketing success of Screen Muncher, by using similar branding and the recognizable “munching” sound whenever a QR code is read.
Code Muncher is available free as an ad-supported app that scans and reads 2D QR codes by simply launching the app and pointing your camera at them. As soon as the app recognizes the QR code, the famous “Motek Muncher Monster” will eat the code and allow you to view web sites, send SMS messages, call phone numbers, and save contact information from it. So how did it fare in testing? Hit the jump to find out.
The major benefit to Code Muncher is the ease with which you can scan a QR code. Once you boot up the app, you’re prompted to either upgrade to the paid version or enter some demographic data which is likely shared with the company (possibly to better serve ads). With the paid version, you’re offered a few features such as the ability to change sounds, change colors as well as remove watermarks and ads.
What’s interesting about advertising is just how averse users are to it. Personally, I’ve never minded ad-supported software and while I rarely click on an ad, I also don’t find them that intrusive. Take Code Muncher’s ads for example, which are clearly still in beta. As you can see from the above screenshot, the ads often don’t even fully display. It took about 4 seconds (which is an eternity in this situation) for the ad to show, and when something came up it was just a white bar that wasn’t even clickable. So why bother paying? You’ve got a really decent app that’s supported by ads that don’t even work. If anything, I would pay to support the developers who made a great product, and possibly to get rid of the crunch sound but that’s about it.
One interesting component of Code Muncher, which may have been a part of Screen Muncher but I never got involved, is the Community Rewards Store (pictured above). Creating a profile with Motek Mobile’s community rewards program allows you to:
- Download free stuff
- Earn rewards to download paid content
- You’re entered into a draw for a free BlackBerry smartphone – 1 winner per month
- See who else is using BlackBerry Nation
- Get 250 points for joining
With Motek Mobile’s community rewards, you can redeem points for:
TXT MSG Tones
Applications – ColorID which costs $5.99 and costs 700 points
Motek centralizes all of this in one big store that they control called BBNation. The store looks like a portal for their content plus some extra stuff they’ve brought on board like ringtones. While it isn’t the most visually appealing system, it’s an awesome concept and a great business move. With a better UI, and a little more community involvement, Motek could build up something really engaging for users.
One of the downsides of Code Muncher, like any barcode reader on the market, is that it’s a little finicky about what QR codes it will choose to read. During this review, I found that reading the barcodes in the BlackBerryCool Store wouldn’t always work. Below is a screenshot of a the Code Muncher QR code from our store that wouldn’t scan. The code looks pretty clear in the screenshot and the camera should have been able to read it.
A neat little marketing tool for Code Muncher is that Motek has left a secret QR code that when you scan it, you can enter to win a Code Muncher Prize Pack. It’s not hard to find so just do a little digging around here.
Overall, Motek did a great job of creating a QR code reader that gets straight to the point and scans codes with ease. Combined with their rewards program, community and marketing initiatives, this app is a must-try for anyone who finds themselves scanning QR codes.
For a review of more barcode scanners for BlackBerry, check out this article.