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QR code-reading phones coming to US

updated 11:05 am EDT, Fri March 28, 2008

ScanLife QR code software

Technology that allows users to get information on products and businesses on their mobile by simply taking a photo is being tested in San Francisco, CA, starting on Friday. Developed by Scanbuy, the free ScanLife software deciphers captured Quick Response (QR) bar codes. It then instructs the cell phone to perform a related function such as sending users to a specific web page or even download music or videos as well as place calls or send text messages. The San Francisco pilot isn't that advanced, as it links to online restaurant reviews and audio links for the city's attractions meant for tourists.

Scanbuy is working in conjunction with Citysearch and Antenna Audio to provide San Francisco locals and visitors with over 500 restaurant, shop and business reviews as well as listening tours of the city's dozens of landmarks via printed bar codes in their windows or placed elsewhere in the general vicinity.

Network carriers are watching the program intently, as it allows quicker and simpler access to information users wouldn't normally spend time digging for. Scanbuy hopes to have its software embedded by the end of this year in phone directly from the manufacturer or provider, but thus far offers its software for download free of charge, with support from about 70 phones.

Similar bar codes have been virtually everywhere in Japan for half a decade, including on printed advertisements and in magazines, and in fortune cookies.

by MacNN Staff



  1. streetz

    Joined: Dec 1969



    It should be noted that:

    Scanbuy’s indirect resolution process, which they use for their proprietary EZcode, is infringing on NeoMedia Technologies’ core patents.

    Scanbuy uses the indirect encoding method for their barcode resolution process.

    Indirect encoding (patented by NeoMedia) is the process of linking the target information to an index (364528 for example) and putting that unique identifier into a 1D UPC/EAN or 2D barcode. The code reader on the mobile phone reads the barcode and sends the code data over the Internet to a central resolution server that will tell the mobile phone what action is associated with the index, i.e. access a URL, download media, initiate a phone call, ect.

    NeoMedia Technologies has a suite of twelve issued patents covering the core concepts behind linking the physical world to the electronic world dating back to 1995.

    NeoMedia and Scanbuy are currently in litigation. What happens if NeoMedia seeks a permanent court ruling enjoining Scanbuy from ever infringing on NeoMedia's patented process?

    It would be in Scanbuy's best interest to settle out of court with NeoMedia.

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