QR code on Android Wear

QR Codes are one of those things where you either love using them or they just don't seem to actually add any convenience to your life. The tech has been around for ages, and every time someone tries to breathe new life into this quick glance data delivery mechanism it seems to gain more and more of a following. The most recent attempt at using QR Codes in apps on phones or as a WiFi hand-off for Google Glass all seem to work well enough, but with smartwatches on the rise it's clear that these little data squares are perfect on the wrist.

There are already several apps that will draw QR Codes on Android Wear, Pebble, and other smartwatch platforms. We've seen Air Berlin's Pebble app serve up boarding passes as QR Codes for users to simply hold out their wrists in order to board a flight, and now Delta does the same for Android Wear. While it's cool that these apps make it easy by providing a QR Code on the most convenient device in your arsenal, you can easily push individual codes from other services to your smartwatch if you know how.

Pebble, for example, has a watchface generator that allows you to stick any image in the face. This makes it easy to store your contact information, your Starbucks account code, or any other semi-permanent QR Code you would want quick access to.

Google Keep

If you're packing Android Wear, gaining quick access to a QR Code is incredibly simple. The Google Keep app allows you to save images that sync instantly across all of your devices, so all you need to do is save your code to Keep, open Keep on your phone, and you're good to go. This works for one-off codes as well as long term codes since you can label the file as you add it to your Keep and you can delete them from just about anything with a screen.

We're going to see a lot more in the way of rapid data delivery through apps on Android Wear and other smartwatch platforms, and while not everyone is going to use QR Codes to deliver that data you can bet that we'll see more and more leaning this way. If you've never really played with these strange little codes before, now seems to be the best time to start.

Are you using QR codes on your smartwatch? Sound off in the comments!


Reader comments

QR Codes and smartwatches, a match made in heaven


The codes will display just fine on the round designs. Here's some examples of how different kinds I'd content is drawn on the different shapes to ensure no one is missing out. Https://medium.com/@romannurik/an-android-wear-design-story-9007660e4d4e

Question: how do I actually use them? The default camera app on my phone doesn't do anything when I take pictures of them, and seeing has most camera apps don't actually do anything when taking pictures of them, how do you seem
seamlessly take advantage of them?

That's the main issue. It isn't build in standard on phones except Windows 8 not 8.1 via the search button. Because it requires customers to download a reliable QR/BARCODE scanner or will be a rocky experience.

Most AT&T phones came with a QR scanner app installed. I always preferred to use my own, but there was one there if my parents needed it.

I agree, it has always seemed strange to me that the stock Android camera didn't include QR identification handoff...

Install a QR reader/generator app, the app uses ur phone's camera to read it and then it will display the data on ur screen. You can also turn info on ur phone/tablet/laptop/etc into a custom QR code. Tons more things u can do w/ them, I'm sure someone else here can tell u a whole lot more than I can
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As illustrator Joe says QR droid is one of the most popular, because it's one of the best.

Google's own offering is Google goggles. You used to be able to do it from Google now but they killed that functionality.

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It would be better to just add it to the stock camera as at least a start. Some of us don't use Now (me included).

thats y u would miss out on it, remember tha camera app isnt made by google its up to tha OEM but google controls google now so they can turn this function on and off wit a update

I haven't tested it, but can u put the barcode (UPC-A encoding) of a loyalty card and have it scan right?

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OMG! Why is this the first time that I have heard this idea. Its seems so obvious, great idea. I think we all need to start contacting the various loyalty card app makers.

You could...but Google Wallet joined the rewards card game too late for me. Also, correct me if I'm wrong, but after the Google Wallet overhaul, I seem to remember it requiring all sorts of new personal info I just wasn't comfortable in handing over to Google.

Google wallet does it for my rite aid wellness+ code. Works perfectly fine. Not sure what other companies work through Google wallet.
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Edit: wait you were talking about for watches. Would be nice if Google extended it to it then.

Watch Membership for Android Wear does that, generating barcodes - I've added Tesco Clubcard, my gym pass, Nectar, etc...I haven't tried it yet though, but I'll give it a go tomorrow

There needs to be a location based app. Walk into tesco, subway or Starbucks (the only examples of stores with loyalty cards I can think of even though I only use one of them) and your loyalty card pops up on your watch, I wish I could code Java...

I think there's still a lot of people who either don't know how to use QR codes in the wild, or just flat out have no idea what they are.

They work wonders on me, I'm incredibly adept at ignoring overt advertising but if I spot a QR code with no explanation I must scan it!

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This happens today if you use Google Wallet for your loyalty card. Every time I go to CVS my google wallet pops up with the CVS loyalty card.

Cineworld in the UK now uses QR codes for e-tickets they get sent to u via email then the staff scan your phone/printout at the entrance to the screens, works well when I've used it

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How about Android Wear with NFC? NOW we're talking a match made in heaven! Imagine paying for something by tapping your wrist to the register. How about tapping your wrist to a friend's wrist to share contact information, photos, etc.?

Do you have little mans syndrome?

rgao007 says:
"Posted via my M9, XT912, N910, G906, D6653, D870, G4, or G Pro 3"

I was thinking about this the other day, but decided that using this with existing readers would be a bit awkward. All of the readers I've encountered sit flat, parallel with the counter.

I remember MKBHD boarded a plane with a QR code on his G Watch or Gear Live, anyone know how that works?

Posted via my M9, XT912, N910, G906, D6653, D870, G4, or G Pro 3

Congrats on the article...what's next??? How to put a picture of your cat on your smart watch? Why didn't you focus on USEFUL ways to use QR codes (yes, you gave a single example)? Is this people magazine now?

I have a QR code on my resume that points to my LinkedIn profile. Just something to stand out. :)

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There are 3 little dots on Google Keep for android wear. Will this not ruin the above process if it's a full screen barcode?