What are QR Codes?


I’m sure you’ve seen normal barcodes when you’re shopping. I mean those that look like this one:

These codes have been used for a long time, and they work great. You can just point at the barcode with a scanner and you get the product name, price, availability, and more.

But there’s a problem with traditional barcodes: These codes only hold a limited amount of data, and what they really contain is just a number, nothing else. In this example, the barcode only contains the number “123456″. Any other information, like product name, price and so on, must be queried somewhere else. Usually, there’s a database which contains all the additional information, linked to the barcode’s number.

Here is the process necessary to read those codes:

  • The scanner reads the barcode and gets “123456”
  • That information (“123456″) is sent to a computer
  • The computer connects to the Internet, or to another computer locally
  • The other computer queries all the information in the database about “123456″ and returns it to first computer
  • The first computer displays all the queried information

But, what happens if you don’t have access to that database? What if Market ‘A’ saved a Tissue box as “123456″, and Market ‘B’ used that same number for a car? Wouldn’t it be great to be able to store the product name, price, and all that detailed information directly in the barcode?

Well, there is a solution! QR Codes

QR codes are similar to barcodes, except that they can hold so much more information. Look at this QR code:

This QR code holds exactly this information:

Product Name: Tissue box

Product Code Number: 123456

Price: US$1.20

Comment: All the information is here!

Now, you don’t need to query a database to get this information. You don’t even need access to the Internet! All you need is a scanner.

But, what is a scanner? It’s really just a camera with a program (app) in there to process that image, right? Well, you already have a camera in your phone, so you only need that app.

If you have an Android or iOS device with a camera, then this is your lucky day… There’s a free app available which you can use to read these QR codes. Now, where to get those QR codes? Well, this app is handy because it can create QR codes too, so that you can post them on your web page, blog, Facebook and Twitter account, and also send them by e-mail to anybody else with a scanner (or a phone with a camera and this app).

The Android version of the app is “QR Droid”, and you can download it from Google Play or here:


The iOS version of the app is “Zapper Scanner”, and you can download it from iTunes App Store or here:


Here are a few real-life situations which call for using QR Codes:

OK, QR codes can hold more text… but, it’s only plain text, so how can I use it?

QR Droid and Zapper Scanner, as well as other compatible readers available for recent, camera-enabled smartphones, can make a lot of things with this “plain text,“ for example:

If the scanned text starts with http:// then the scanner app knows that it is a web page. So, the app will launch your Android / iOS’s browser and open the relevant web page. Conversely, you can generate a QR code of your Web page, post it anywhere, and users will be able to scan that code and go directly to your web page. They won’t need to write down that long web address anymore!

If the scanned text contains a name, a phone number, a web address, an e-mail address and more, then QR Droid and Zapper Scanner will determine that is a contact. So the app will offer you to either save all that information directly in your phone in a tap, without typing a thing, or to directly call or send an SMS message using that information (again, without typing anything!).

If the scanned text contains a longitude and a latitude, QR Droid and Zapper Scanner will then launch Google Maps and show you the exact location indicated by the QR code, and allow you to share this information with others.

These are just a few examples of the power of QR codes! To learn more about QR codes, Android, QR Droid, iOS and Zapper Scanner—and how you can benefit—just keep browsing http://qrdroid.com, especially the features page to ensure you are always up to date with QR Droid Zapper’s latest features and functions.

Showing 21 comments

  • long distance relationship

    Oh, this is quite interesting. Actulally, I found your blog on google search. I will tell my friend about your blog later.

  • how to jump higher

    This is cool. Much Appreciated.

  • Donte Wanek

    Do you mind if I quote a few of your articles as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My blog is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would genuinely benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Many thanks!

    • DroidLa

      Hi Donte. Sure, you can quote any entry if you link to qrdroid.com

  • Levi

    Stumbled on your site through Bing. You already know I will be signing up to your feed.

  • lebanoclegi

    Good info. Big thanks for that.

  • lifecell reviews

    Finally something fresh and new that make sense! I would like to see more about this and that is what I’m going to do.

  • Hasley

    This is Informative. Thanks.

  • Bob Hoyt

    I teach Medical Informatics so I am constantly looking for new concepts, hardware, software, etc I can apply to the field of medicine. Thanks for the ability to download and test drive QR Droid


    • DroidLa

      I’m glad you like QR Droid, Bob. If you have any idea to make it fit your needs better, don’t hesitate to write to info@droid.la or info@qrdroid.com

      • Bob Hoyt

        About how many KB can you input into the QR Code? Looks like it would be simple to input basic drug information but that is just the beginning. It is my impression that bar coding in a hospital involves scanning the patient, the dispenser (nurse) and the drug. That information goes to a server over a LAN that determines if the patient is getting the right drug, right dose and at the right time. Hence, I suppose that the QR Code would be valuable to identify a drug or medical item but it would not confirm that the patient is receiving the right drug at the right time without connecting to a remote database. This is presumably why the average bar code medication administration (BCMA) system is about $1 million/hospital. I believe these codes are being used on wrist bracelets to identify patients because they can include room number, attending physician, etc. It does look like new security measures in medicine mandate dual authentication so perhaps this is one legitimate method. Any thoughts or ideas as to how else QR can be used in the field of medicine? ……Bob

  • web-site

    Next amazing post in your blog, brooo!

  • arthur

    Nice work Dante. I just snagged the app last night.
    Do you prospect for advertisers? Let me know when we can chat.

    Best wishes,


  • Mayur

    very nice. app ……. thanx for making life easy

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