Android Software: QR Droid
Here we have a treat: a very-well written app for scanning QR Codes on an Android phone that really gives the impression that the developer spent a lot of time on it. It’s free with ads, or a donation will remove them.
The app icon will take you to the menu screen, but, showing thought, the software lets you create an icon that will take you straight to the scanner and get scanning quickly.
If the app recognises a QR Code, it will decode it automatically. Note that you can turn on your camera flash (if you have one) as a lightsource for scanning in low light with the button in the top right. If you change your mind and want to generate a QR Code instead, you can press the button in the top left. This shows the thought that has gone into the usability of the software as it is easy to switch between modes without having to navigate a lot of menus. Decoding time is pretty much standard at about 1 second for a scan.
A bonus with the newest version is that (on most devices), pressing your ‘search’ key can be defined to launch the scanning mode. If you scan a lot of QR Codes, this is very fast as you don’t even need to touch your screen.
Using the (very pretty) menu screen, you can also decode from an image on the phone, an image URL and a surprisingly useful ‘History’ open that lists your previous scan/generations, with the option to regenerate the QR Code, or the decoded information. Very useful indeed as it you may find yourself trying to remember what you scanned earlier that day.
Generating a contact will take you to a pretty list of all your contacts. Slightly disappointingly, it does not use the contacts ‘group’ abilities and so lists all your contacts in a long list. The better option in this case is to select the contact using your phone’s ‘Contacts’ and use the context menu to select QR Droid there. If you do use the app, at least you have a search box for the contact’s name (but only the name, not company name or address) or simply flick down and scroll though them all.
A very well thought-out ability is to choose what fields you want to include in the QR Code: when I share a contact’s details with someone, there is a good chance that I don’t want to give all the information that I might have on them (e.g. their private phone number, or email or home address). You can choose to remove entire fields and all the data is editable. note the not particularly works-safe ads
The generator is also both powerful and simple: by default is creates a large QR Code on screen with the option to share or save it. If you want to customise it, simple buttons let you choose from a range of pixel sizes and foreground colours- the colour picker is a little fiddle and unresponsive, but it will remember your choice for next time.
Oddly, it also gives you the option to add a thumbnailed image from your phone in the centre of the QR Code. You cannot choose the position or size of the picture as these are fixed. At first, I was dubious as to its use – I can’t say that this is hugely attractive, but after a few plays I grew to like this feature as it allows you to tag your QR Codes to make them more recognisable to your eye. You’d really need to add some simple icons to your phone to make the best use of this feature(perhaps the developer could throw in some samples in the future?)
Creating a geolocation QR Code from a Google Maps location from the menu isn’t particularly useful, since it works from a location from an URL and most people will be using the Google Maps app instead – however using the shortcut from within the Google Maps app is simplicity itself. You can also enter in Lat/long manually:
Generating codes is also a well-thought out process with menu options for Contact, URL, Application, Phone Number, Calendar Event, Plain Text, Geolocation, SMS QR Code generation
The ads aren’t too little intrusive as they pop up at the top of some of the screen, but a donation payment will remove them for you. The recommended amount is USD2.50, but you can choose from USD1.50 – USD10.00 and really it is worth it to support the excellent work by the developers.
For those of you who are really concerned for your privacy, they have a ‘private’ version that does not have access to your contacts or browsing history. You can still create QR Codes of these types- you’ll just have to enter all the information by hand. Probably not really using this version unless you have a tinfoil hat in your wardrobe.
In conclusion: This is the app to get. No question about it.
Official Website: qrdroid.com