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I've been in continuous ownership of at least one smartphone since the iPhone 1. I have yet to scan a QR code "in the wild" (i.e., while not testing software that's QR-code related).

I'm willing to bet I can tap the install button for a given app faster than you can scan the equivalent QR code and hit install. The challenge is for iOS.

The workflow for scanning and actioning on a QR code is tediously slow. Unlock your phone. Page over a few times (because let's be honest, QR code scanner is not getting front-page placement on my home screen), open the app. Wait for it to initialize. Hold over QR code. Nope, closer/further. Ah there we go. Bam. Now tap on something to visit site. Wait for site to load. Oh wait, it's a redirect to the App Store. Wait for App Store to load...

Sweet God.

A sufficiently short and easy to spell URL can be entered much, much, much faster than all of the above. If it's app-related, a sufficiently short and easy to spell app name will convert me faster than a QR code any day of the week.

There are plenty of effective scanner apps are out there. The one I use snaps the image almost instantly and away you go. It's not something that I use much, but it works when I need it. And yes - why not have a visible url as well.

I'm an Android user, so I can't really comment on the iOS experience, but for me it's as literal as "hit barcode scanner, point camera at QR code". The app detects the QR code, decodes it, tells me what it found, and asks what I want to do with it. In the case of a URL, it pops open in my browser; in the case of an app URL, it opens in the Play store app, etc. It's very quick, easy, and painless.

I think you'll agree that short URLs and names are hard to come by, and will be more so over time. Plus, the push for short names is getting out of control. I'm sorry, but a name like xzb.ly is retarded, whereas GoodCompanyName.com isn't.

Most of the time when I hear about an app, I'm at my computer. So I type in the full URL to get to that link or go to the App Store's slow search. Half the time there's several search result, and I'm fighting with iPhone's spell checker if it's a cutesy name or have to remember the company's naming scheme. (For example, I searched for "Flight Track" instead of "FlightTrack" and received tons of incorrect results.)

Another good use: connecting the physical world with digital when it's not practical to set up a short URL (think a church having a silent auction, with in-depth descriptions listed on the website)

QR codes might be workable if the camera app automatically detected them.

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