QR Codes (QR is short for Quick Response) are a special type of code that can be read by special QR Code readers and camera enabled mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
If you look around, you’ve probably seen these “dot-filled” square codes popping up in printed advertisements in magazines, on movie posters, in newspapers.
These codes work very similarly as going to pay at the supermarket and the cashier scans the bar-code on the items you are purchasing. In that case, the cash register translates the bar-code into the information corresponding to the specific item.
With QR Codes, the camera on the mobile device serves as the code scanner, and the code instead of having vertical black lines, the code looks like a bunch of black dots against a light background – all nested inside a light colored square frame.
To read these QR codes, your device needs to have a QR Code Reader installed. Once the reader software is installed, it’s then simply a matter of pointing your camera at the code and depending on the reader, possibly taking a photo of the code. The QR Code Reader software will translate the code into a specific set of instructions that your mobile device will do.
So how do I get the reader on my mobile device?
Although many mobile devices now come with QR Code Reader software pre-installed, there are still some that do not.
First, let’s address the top two most popular types of devices.
iPhone and iPad:
There are many QR Code Readers in the iPhone App Store
The two most popular are:
QR Reader for iPhone – TapMedia Ltd
If you have an Android based smarphone or tablet, the first thing you should do is do a search for QR Code Reader in the Android Market
There are many free options you can download and given that new apps pop-up every day, I would recommend you guide yourself by the highest rated reviews and most downloads.
Other popular QR Code Readers include:
QuickMark available for a large number of mobile devices and reads QR Code, Datamatrix and the proprietary code QuickMark.
Compatibility and download instructions
Most QR Code readers are self explanatory and it’s merely a matter of installing the code and then taking a picture of the code you are interested in reading. The device will then interpret the code and perform the action related to it.