QR Codes Already Obsolete?

I've done a couple of recent posts about QR codes, trumpeting their use as the Next Big Thing in print-to-web interactivity, and what do I now learn? Google is abandoning the technology in favor of Near Field Communication (NFC) technology! 

So, does this mean the death of the QR technology before it even gets a chance to mature? When the world's leading tech company writes it off, you'd hardly be blamed to believing that, but I think there's quite a jump between QR and NFC...it's big enough that it will be years, if ever, that NFC becomes "consumer grade" technology.

Here's a quick NFC primer, lifted from this ReadWrite Web article:
NFC is a newer wireless technology that allows devices to communicate with each other over short distances. The data transfer between the devices occurs through one of two means: either a short wave or, as is more common, a touch or tap.

The communication doesn't have to occur between two handheld devices, like two phones, however. It can also work with a mobile device and a target of some kind - for example, a point-of-sale system at a store's checkout counter or even something as simple as a tag, sticker, poster, decal or card with an NFC chip embedded. In the case of these simple targets, batteries are not required to power the NFC chips. Instead, the chips are in a passive state, waiting to be activated by another device that can generate a RF (radio frequency) field.
So, unlike QR codes, which can be easily generated and require only a printer to "manufacture," NFC is a chip-based technology, and I don't see a lot of printed circuit creating devices for sale on Amazon.com.

In addition, the NFC reader is a hardware solution; your phone (or other mobile device) must have the capability built into it. Here's a list of the mobile phones that are currently NFC-capable. It's not an impressive list, as it lacks representation by such brands as RIM (Blackberry) and a minor player known as the iPhone. (But they are in the "rumored to be coming real soon...really" category.) Of course, the Google Nexus comes with NFC baked in. QR codes can be read by any smartphone with free reader software installed.

I do think NFC has a lot potential (and is already being implemented by various major players for mobile payment systems, where you can just wave or tap your phone near an NFC station to complete a transaction). Google's emphasis is on providing merchants with NFC-enabled window stickers or decals that allow passers-by to connect to a website to get more information about the business. This is tied to a new Google service called Hotpot, and obviously Google hopes it will someday be a revenue stream for the company.

But until the day comes when we have our own personal chip stamping machines (to go along with our flying cars), QR codes (or something similar) will be a much more accessible technology - and carry much fewer security and privacy concerns - than the NFC approach for run-of-the-mill connections between the worlds of print and web.

That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

1 Comment

A COMBINATION OF THE TWO TECHNOLOGIES IS INEVITABLE IN REGARDS TO THE WAY INFORMATION IS TRANSFERRED...BUT REGARDLESS OF THE PHYSICAL TECHNOLOGY THAT SUPPORTS THE MOVEMENT,,OUR SHIFT TOWARDS INSTANT INFO AND INSTANT PURCHASING DEMANDS BY THE CONSUMER IS A VERY INTERESTING AND PROFITABLE ADDITION TO OUR WAY OF LIFE AND THE NEW VIRTUAL WORLD WE ARE BEGINNING TO LIVE IN.

QR_FANMAN

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This page contains a single entry by Eric published on April 4, 2011 2:58 PM.

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