Junaio, the mobile Augmented Reality browser created by German AR firm Metaio, has been updated this morning: Version 3.0 now supports scanning barcodes. Some of you are probably thinking “Whoop-dee-doo, every app can scan barcodes nowadays.” And you’re right; it’s not really a big deal in that sense. When you consider Junaio’s capability at advanced image recognition, using it to scan 1D and 2D QR codes is kind of like using a bazooka to shoot an arrow.
But from a usability standpoint, it makes a lot of sense. I’ll be the first to admit that Junaio’s “channel” concept for AR content has always been a little confusing to me. I mean, I get it and think it is a flexible way to break up content. I’m sure it also makes it easy for 3rd parties to make content available to the browser.
But I always have to remind myself how it works…I choose X channel for X kind of content, etc. I think adding an “instantly on” scanner that can just scan posters, recognize images, experience natural feature tracking — do all the things Junaio could always do — plus 2D barcode scanning is a great step in the right direction for Junaio and its usability. It is definitely a faster way to get to the content.
From a strategy standpoint, it also makes sense. Why not try to make Junaio a “one stop shop” for all AR and image searching needs? Especially when AR content is still not quite as mainstream as barcode scanning (not that I would say barcode scanning completely mainstream either). But why not try to make that less complex barcode functionality possible for users too. It’s a good idea.
I installed it this morning and noticed that not all 2D barcode symbologies are able to be scanned. I confirmed this with a spokesperson from Metaio, who said that at today’s launch, Junaio will only be able to scan standard 1D barcodes and QR codes. They will be adding more symbol libraries over time to accommodate different code types.
Multiple symbology recognition will be important for Junaio to become that “one stop shop” scanning app. I realize that QR codes are a more popular symbology, and their ability to encode Kanji characters make them a more practical, international solution. That is probably a good place to start. However, Data Matrix codes are still popular in North America and can be significantly smaller in print size.
At a bare minimum, Data Matrix, PDF417 and maybe even Aztec should be incorporated. But in general, I think this added functionality is a step right direction for a great little mobile AR browser.
The version for iPhone is available now, with the iPad 2 version coming later this week. The Android version will be available next week.