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QR Codes Vs. Tags

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As expected Microsoft doesn’t take things lying down and they want (and is often seen as ‘capable of’) taking a big chunk of the pie when the chance presents itself. In the IT world, it is an acknowledged fact that QR Codes will soon be a part of our world…the question now is just ‘when’. As one of the leading IT companies in the world today, it is a foreseeable fact that Microsoft would want to be a part of it. With the rapid spread in QR Code usage, the technology have seeped into many parts of the general consumers’ lives, the progress and acceptance of which is still slow in the United States. Microsoft, instead of bowing to the Japan-based QR Code technology has decided that they’ll take an extra step in this endeavor.

Instead of creating products catering for the QR Code system, they’ve come up with and released something completely different this time. The technology is still in Beta and it has been a very simple name – Tag. The main function of Microsoft Tag is to give mobile phone users the option of scanning a code and save time. Instead of having to type or write out a whole string of URL, it leads them directly to the mobile web that they want to go to.

It is said that Microsoft Tag, like QR Codes, can be used on print advertisements, billboards, packaging for products, T-shirts, and all other forms of products/marketing materials. The scanner or reader is obviously different from those used to read QR Codes. The difference is also in the technology used – Tags use High Capacity Color Barcodes which stems from the same technology used by QR Codes. While QR Codes are in black and white, Microsoft Tag uses colors.

It’s a little harder and not as convenient trying to come up with your own Microsoft Tag; there are many websites where you can create your own QR Codes for free and then print it out for multiple purposes. For Tags, you’ll need a Microsoft, Hotmail or Live ID and when you log in with your ID, head on over to www.tags.microsoft.com to create the Tag.

The technology, since it is only at it’s BETA stage at this point in time, is available to a limited types of phones, namely iPhone, Blackberry, J2ME, Symbian S60 and Windows Mobile 5 and 6, and others.

I don’t know how far Microsoft is going to take this because I am wondering why did Microsoft had to come up with ANOTHER system when one, the QR Code, is already spreading so rapidly. It only serves as an additional option and in Japan where QR Codes is already being used EVERYWHERE, I don’t know how the Japanese are going to (or are) reacting to this new technology because QR Code, for them, has been a steady part of their staple mobile phone diet.

I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

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