Robert Freeman's whole Media, Business and Technology thing. Sorted.

Phones that read barcodes – CueCat revisited?

with 3 comments

Mobile phone companies want to make mobile phones capable of reading barcodes, with the aim of being able to quickly direct consumers to more information about things that interest them.

Apparently commonplace in Japan and South Korea, I wonder why it’s taken them so long to introduce here. Newswireless Editor, Guy Kewney was trailing it in late 2004.

A similar barcode reader that I know of, which was a complete failure, was CueCat, largely because of significant security concerns.

However I’ve always wondered whether it would have died anyway.  If you’re flicking through a magazine, and you see something of interest, isn’t it just as easy to go to your computer and type in a URL?

Why bother with a barcode reader?  Perhaps someone can tell me more about how barcode-reading phones in Asia are used, because surely a mobile phone version has all the drawbacks of CueCat, plus a tiny screen experience into the bargain.

I can’t help thinking that a phone that reads a barcode is a solution in search of a problem.


Written by Robert

3 March, 2007 at 4:02 am

Posted in Mobile, Software, Technology

3 Responses

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  1. Since the cuecat was tied to your PC it was somewhat limited. And yes the business model that Digital Convergence (the company that distributed the CueCat) had planed for it was pretty silly. The idea with the phone is that while your out and about you can still use it, you don’t need to run back to your computer. Say your walking down the street and see a playbill for a show at the theater. Down in the corner is a small (I think 2dimensional) barcode. You invoke the software on the phone and take a picture of the barcode, the software connects through your wireless provider to the internet and gets you the show times and maybe lets you book tickets right from your phone. Plus there is really no new hardware required, most modern mobile phones have cameras and can connect to the net so just a software app needs to be installed.

    BTW I don’t think the CueCat failed because of the security concerns, it failed because they expected people to read their magazines sitting at their computer, who the heck does that?


    3 March, 2007 at 4:43 am

  2. I think the reason why Cue Cat failed is because it was before its time. I do not think that it was security issue.

    The idea set forth by Digital Convergence was pick up by Neomedia Technologies and revamped for today’s life style to include more options.

    Think about this. Who does not have a cell phone today, besides my mother?

    Is it easy to type in the URL on the mobile phone?

    Today, everyone is mobile. Why not provide the public with a Google like application.

    One click to content. You can navigate the mobile web without typing the long links.

    Qode provides one click access to the mobile web from the 1D, 2D, QR, data matrix, keyword, trademark, logo, billboard, RFID, slogan, etc.

    What if Bass Pro Shop or the grocery chain Kroger was offering a 50% coupon when you click the logo on TV? Would you be motivated to go shopping to save money?

    The reason why things are just starting to evolve?

    IMO, the first reason: Google, Yahoo, Microsoft do not want to put the power into the consumers hands and they want to own / control this connection.

    The second, Is it because a standard reader is lacked for the 2D code?

    The third, the public does not know about it or how easy it is to use.

    The internet of this is starting to evolve. Check out MC2.

    BTW, Qode is a free down loadable software for your mobile device.


    3 March, 2007 at 1:06 pm

  3. Barcode scanners and soon RFID scanners in Smart PHones isn’t just for the end consumer who is in the same target market as say the iPhone.

    Barcode and RFID scanners in smart phones have much larger applications in reengineering and streamlining your Supply Chain Management. Equipping a sales force with say Barcode and RFID enabled ‘BlackBerries’ could allow one scan reordering/restocking and invoicing etc.


    3 March, 2007 at 3:35 pm

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