Telstra readies Next G mobiles for barcode invasion

Tomorrow Telstra will start pushing out a software update to half a million customers that will allow users to point their phones at a barcode and be directed to a relevant Web page.

Tomorrow Telstra will start pushing out a software update to half a million customers that will allow users to point their phones at a barcode and be directed to a relevant Web page.

(Credit: Telstra)

The software update loads a reader into the phone's main menu which, when opened, turns on the camera to read barcodes. Phones that will sport the software include the Nokia 6120 and N95.

"Going forward, nearly all the next-generation mobiles will have this," a Telstra spokesperson said.

The Telstra mobile barcodes are based on two international standards — quick response codes and Data Matrix.

Similar technologies can be found in Japan, France, Spain, China, USA, Hong Kong, UK and Russia where barcodes have been placed in magazines, on buses, business cards and other public spaces.

Barcodes could allow users to automatically transfer information from business cards to their address books, scan their travel itineraries to link to flight arrival and departure times on the Web, or find reviews and plot summaries for shows from television guides. The barcodes will likely be seen on posters, Web banners and newspapers, promoting special offers.

"It's a really quick way to go to mobile Web pages," the spokesperson said. "Normally, it takes multiple clicks to make the connection you are after."

Currently, users will not have to watch out for racking up extra costs on their mobile bill according to the spokesperson. "Initially, most of the content will be tariff free." In the future, warnings will be added when users may be charged for data.

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