Scan Life, a subsidiary of Scan Buy, provides a quality 2-D barcode generator for your desktop/laptop, as well as free software for download to every major smartphone device on the market.
In fact, at least in terms of the US Market, Scan Life claims to have “every major operating system supported,” including Palm, Java, Windows Mobile, Brew, Android, iPhone, Blackberry, and Symbian.
However, due to the hardware constraints (camera) of any given device, I can assure you that despite the quality of Scan Life’s software, it is unlikely that a user is going to successfully scan a QR barcode with a Palm or Blackberry more than about 2 years old. Don’t misinterpret… the phone cameras are catching up with the software, I promise!! But, I think Scan Life is jumping the gun a little bit there.
I think it’s tremendous just to say that I have yet to find a more robust, cross-platform barcode scanning software for the 8330 than Scan Life. I have yet to find a QR scanner that works equally well on iPhones, Blackberrys, and Android OS phones.
Now, after stating that Scan Life is a great app that can be found for any phone, I should also note there are a few key downsides…
1) CAMERA VS. SCANNER – Scan Life snaps a picture rather than scanning the QR code. As much as I’ve hesitated to take an official side on this matter, scanning is crucial. Just leave the camera eye open until identifies enough points to “scan” (ie Barcode Scanner). Don’t leave it up to the user with the shaky hands to snap a photo and wait to see whether it will process or force you to take a second or third picture.
2) COMPATIBILITY – At no direct fault of their own, Scan Life’s marriage to their EZ Code comes at the cost of incompatibility with other barcode readers. For example, I was unable to scan the 2-D code you see at the top of the screen with Google’s Barcode Scanner software.
In a world where Denso Corporation had not created the QR code, I could understand Scan Life wanting their own 2-D code all to themselves. But it seems like they are reinventing the wheel here… People can generate and scan QR codes for free. Why create a new language that limits your potential market from the start to users with your free software?
3) SCAN LIFE PORTAL – In addition to #2, it is frustrating that Scan Life directs any one scanning a barcode that was not created using their interface through a Scan Life Portal. This portal is merely a mobile website asking if you want to proceed to your predetermined scanning destination.
To me, with as much kudos as I am happy provide to Scan Life for their other features and ease of use, the Scan Life portal is a major no-no. We are not yet at the stage in the 2-D scanning adoption where anyone in the industry should be putting additional layers between the end user and the content.
Those are my only two qualms about Scan Life. I’d rank it second only to Google’s Barcode Scanner in terms of quality/speed of applications available in the United States, and first in terms of availability across mobile device platforms.
– Dr. Barcode
PS I just learned early today that Motorola invested an undisclosed sum in Scan Life. I find this especially interesting because one of their flagship devices in the United States is the Droid… an Android OS model that has Google’s Barcode Scanner as a readily available (if not preinstalled) app.
Trying to play one scanning app off another? Who knows…If nothing else, it shows that one of the major device manufacturers is taking notice to the power of scanning.