Microsoft has added support for QR codes to Tag, its mobile barcoding service. It has also added the ability to read Near Field Communication (NCF) signals.
The official line on the addition, according to a blog post by Aaron Getz, General Manager of Microsoft Tag, is that
“based on feedback we’ve heard in the industry, marketers wanted an easy way to use a full suite of recognition technologies all in one place. And with so many formats and readers on the market, there is increasing frustration among consumers over not knowing which reader to use for which code”.
Looked at another way, the addition is a tacit admission by Microsoft that its colour coded Tag barcodes aren’t as widely used as the traditional QR (Quick Response) codes, and may never catch up with this market leader.
The inability to read QR codes using a Microsoft Tag reader has been the main problem according to Tag users. Both codes let mobile phone users find out more about a product by taking a picture of the code.
Near Field Communication (NFC) can be used by devices such as smartphones to communicate when held close to each other, though in the case of tagging, the communication is usually between a device supporting NFC and an unpowered NFC chip pre-loaded with information such as a URL. Microsoft announced support for NFC in Windows 8 in September, and said last week that while NFC is not currently supported on Windows Phone 7.5, it is coming, and that Microsoft expects NFC-enabled Windows Phone devices to ship within the next year.
Getting started with Microsoft Tag
Microsoft Tag and Barcoding in Color
QR codes gaining acceptance
QR codes dead?
Microsoft Tag alive and flourishing
Microsoft Tag takes off
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