NFC vs QR codes

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Can someone confirm... With a QR code i need to scan with an app to read the code. However any QR code app will read any QR code, displaying the information behind the QR code.

With NFC however if i use an app to write to an NFC tag if other phones that ARE nfc enabled dont have that app when they scan that tag nothing happens.

What is the point of NFC if i am required to have a specific app to read the tag. I may as well put a URL and get them to type it in.

So my question is is there a way around this? Writing to a tag for generic reading and not app specific reading?

1 Answer

Accepted Answer


Devices such as the nexus 7 android can read NFC chips and then using android intents farm out the process to an app or choice of apps. If the NFC data is generic for example a web URL then it simply launches a web browser.

So in that case, there is nothing special and no other app needed.

However, if you have more specific data on the NFC chip you can do more, a product or shipping code for example. As the data is specific then you would have an app to handle that, usually to speed up a process an improve accuracy.

But as your example only requires a URL then the OS will handle that for you and unlike a arcade it does not have to have ANY specific app open to read it as that process is automatic. So in this case NFC is much simpler than a QR code.

— answered 3 years ago by Malcolm Hollingsworth
answer permalink
  • so I encoded a sticker using nfc action. That is an app. I encoded a browse to url.. Tried it on a different phone and it directed me to download the nfc action application....

    — commented 3 years ago by ilan perez

  • I have just written a new URL to my NFC tag and then tapped it to the back of my Nexus 7 and it immediately launched chrome and visited my website.

    I did not have to choose anything, press anything - just simply touch the back of the nexus and there I was. I was out of all apps at the time and just on the standard Android launcher screen prior to tapping the card.

    For interest I used NFC TagWriter by NXP, got good reviews and is free. See if that improves your situation.

    — commented 3 years ago by Malcolm Hollingsworth

  • Did you manage to try the app I suggested? All tests I have done have performed exactly as I explained above.

    — commented 3 years ago by Malcolm Hollingsworth

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