Barcodes - Not Just for BlackBerry Messenger

By Adam Zeis on 18 Aug 2009 09:59 am EDT


Barcodes were all the rage when BlackBerry Messenger 5.0 popped up. The ability to scan an image and add a contact is definitely one of the best features. Tons of What's your bardcode threads popped up in the forums, and images spread on Twitter asking people to "Scan Me". Did you know that the ability to scan barcodes and receive content is nothing new? For quite a while, many companies have been offering barcodes on their products, advertisements or printed media that links directly to mobile content. Laptop Magazine has barcodes throughout its pages that allow you to link to exclusive mobile content. Some newer movie posters and even some electronic products have barcodes on them that link to mobile sites with additonal information. The codes make it easier for companies to deliver what they want, without the need for the end-user to have to type in a long web address. They are multiple free apps that work on various devices. ScanLife, Kaywa reader, I-nigma reader, NeoReader and more. All of these apps can be installed on your device and allow you to scan barcodes using your camera. The scans are typically saved and processed, and then you are taken to the mobile content on your device. They also give you the option to type in barcode numbers, save them and more. You can even create your own barcodes and link to your website.  So what do you think - are barcodes making things easier or more overwhelming? Will more companies/industries be using them in the future? 

Topics: Editorial

Adam Zeis Adam Zeis "Mobile Nations Content Strategist" 3740 (articles) 2892 (forum posts)

Reader comments

Barcodes - Not Just for BlackBerry Messenger


ScanLife, i-nigma, or Kaywa, doesn't have a Storm download.

ScanLife offers versions for
BUT no Storm...

Didn't see blackberry support from, Kaywa


Neo reader appears to have a download for both 9800, 9530...
My $$$ would go to them..

Quick question: Which application did you use to create the above barcode?
I am fairly new to the barcode idea, and notice that all the ones that are being created (by default) on the above mentioned sites, look different from the one above and can't pick up on those when attempting to scan.
Like I said, I'm just ignorant with the creation part of the barcodes so any help would be appreciated.

My wife's old Nokia N95 has a built in barcode reader, it's very useful because instead of taking pictures of items she scans the barcode and gets links and info for the product. Since she learned how to use it I don't have to keep looking up info from products that she used to email me.

I'm glad that now we get to use it as well.

Long live the square barcode thingy!!!

I have the Bold 9650 scanlife app and it works very well. And the site I downloaded it from said nothing about a tour 9650. FYI

Barcodes a one part of the mobile future. In asia you will find a bigger market for marketing with barcodes.

BTW - I try to import my books in Google Books via barcodes and my Curve 8900. I am search for a barecode app that just generates a txt file with all scanned barcode numbers. Did anyone know such a "simple" tool?


The Japanese have been using barcodes for sometime now, we in the States are just starting to see the possibilities. The only problem I see is that every other company wants its own proprietary barcode which requires a brand new barcode reader. Of course there are a few that the masses have seem to gravitate towards, hopefully we can narrow the amount of useful barcodes down to three or four. The Android G1 actually had barcode shopping built in from day one.
IMHO, the best barcode reader is NeoReader, they support most all Blackberrys, but works best with an auto-focus camera.

The best QR Code generator is probably the one Google has helped develop, zxing. It allows for the greatest amount of information to be input into the QR Code. Check it out;

The code above is in the QR Code format and is a two-dimensional format. The UPC styles are one-dimensional.

There are SO many different types of barcodes available. The limitations that I have seen so far with NeoReader is that it is only for UPC styles codes and thus only useful for retail items. I rarely shop on line (very rarely) but my job leads me down the path of barcoding so I tried the app out. Since my industry does not use UPC style we are using CODE 128. I first tried CODE 39 but found that it did not read special characters.

The program that I use to make barcodes is Brother's P-Touch Editor which actually has 19 different barcodes available.

Dude, do some research before posting. On the FAQ on, question 2 it says:

2. What kind of codes can I read with NeoReader?

Data Matrix, QR code, Aztec code, EAN, UPC and Code 128 can be read easily and promptly by the NeoReader mobile application.

Thats why I suggested NeoReader in the first place, it supports various (the most used) barcodes of any barcode reader that I have come across as of yet.

I just used scanlife and when i scanned the above barcode it just gives me a link. which scanner app would be best for this type of barcode qr?

NeoReader does not decode CODE39 either BUT 1. mine are alpha numeric generated in house and 2. I am switching to CODE 123 from here on out so maybe it will work.

On a sony camera, the charger has a bar code just like the ones for messanger. I tried scanning it to see if it would adsd someone but it did not

While the concept is nothing new to me, it's clear that with so many various BB models and barcode app options, there needs to be a serious testing to provide veterans and new comers alike the best options for utilizing this technology on their own respective devices.

RIM needs to get on the ball and have a uniform OS for all devices. Obviously there would be differences for the Storm but the others could be the same. That way we wouldnt constantly be searching for compatible apps across various devices.

ScanLife does work with the Storm (barely). You have to download the generic version, and since it doesn't support touch, you have to slide your finger on the screen like it's a trackball to select different options. NeoReader is still better for the Storm.

Wow us American/Canadian are so late compare to Japan on new technologies.

It's been out there for years now in japan even Macdonalds use it to give you the nutrition info of your big mac.....

Being that our BB are able to process the barcode currently issued to each device for BBM does this mean that we do not need to install this 3rd party app. Or is our reader limited to the BBM barcode only and for any additional barcodes on products like in Japan we would have to use the 3rd partyt app for them? If anyone has information please feel free to email me at



I just got it to work with BBM 5.0. I then downloaded Neoreader and tried the code at the tope of the page. No success. I then tried it again with BBM doesn't work now.....

Trying reboot...any other suggestions?

I got Scanlife to work on my 8900. I created the barcode on the website- scanned it from my imac using the 8900 camera-works great.

I used barcodes a lot when i ran symbian for years. most of their phones have barcode readers built in... was great to use especially during trade shows- you simply exchange barcodes instead of business cards..

what i cannot figure out is how to add the barcode to my email signature on my blackberry- it is unbelievable that it can't be done...
anyone have any suggestions????

I just downloaded neoreader to my 9530 OS .151/167/5.0 Hybrid (thanks again Lyricidal) and im having random freezing issues tried battery pull but anybody have anyother suggestions i know this is still pretty new to everyone but any info can help thanks.

Holy Crap, it works! I downloaded NeoReader to my 8320 and tried some of the codes. Worked nearly every time! Sweet!

this is a great technology.
i just downloaded the ScanLife but so far i was not able to read a code. Actually he signals me that he found something and the he keeps loading. I left him for 3 minutes and it was still loading.
what am i doing wrong?

well thats pants,.. nothing reads, not even their own examples, this could be great id only it worked. Having said that im not giving up

Am I an idiot??? I downloaded scan life on my tour and it does nothing...I read instructions 10 times...all it does is take a nice pic of a attempt to read it or anything...just a pic...pointless

First tried NeoReader and deleted it again because it´s design doesn´t work for me (I think it was not developed for the BlackBerry, but ported to it.)

I just installed ScanLife on my 8900 and it works perfectly!
On their website you can even create your own barcodes, with multiple types to choose from.

Found out that the problem is with the browser. When I used Oprea Mini to download the program it downloaded the program for a Storm 9520. I had no choice in what Storm 2 model to select. When I downloaded it using the natvie browser on the Storm 2 Neoreader found my Storm 2 9550 with no problem. To those who maybe having a similar problem make sure that the program is finding the right Storm 2.

Neo Reader "Looks" nice and has a nice UI bit it absolutely does not ever scan a barcode on my Storm 9500. I've tried it for a few weeks and not had a single success with it. I did find a Storm verion of i-nigma which I'm installing now.

I have also been using another reader called "BeeTagg" for a while which seems to work well for the Storm.

i-nigma works very nicely on the Storm!

Forgot to mention that BeeTagg also lets you create bar codes on their website. I have created a QR and a Datamatrix code with my contact details so people can scan my details straight into their phones.