Can Your Mobile Read This Barcode?

QR Code Barcode

Do you know what the maximum store capacity of a barcode is?

Sorry, the question itself is a little tricky. We need to consider what type of barcode is using and how to measure store capacity.

Although QR Code is not the highest data storage barcode format, but it’s probably still the best candidate for this question, given its great popularity on website and mobile apps. And intuitively, we can measure QR Code store capacity by English letters. So our question about barcode maximum capacity can be narrowed down to this one: if measured in English letters, how many English letters can a QR Code encode at most?

Yes, Google has it. 4,296 letters at most. It’s the Version 40 QR Code, correction level L, used.

To find out this answer is easy. But when I had another search in Google, I couldn’t find one example of QR Code with 4,296 letters in it. Not a single one. That bothered me.

I didn’t know how hard it could be to generate such a maximum capacity QR Code. So I tried to make my way through it. I tested with a number of barcode generating services, either online or offline. And finally I had this barcode generated.

Yes, that’s the barcode you just saw at the begining of this post.

Now, get your mobile ready. And have a test with your mobile if it can read this barcode. Don’t be panic if your mobile cannot read it. Mine doesn’t read it either. But I know there are some guys whose mobile can read it with right app installed. It all depends on your mobile camera and app used for scanning.

Could you please be kind enough to drop me a comment whether or not your mobile can read it, telling me what the mobile and app used for the test?

Right, I almost forgot, the answer. What’s in that barcode? Here is a little interactive page I made, with the answer in it: http://twainscanning.com/qrcode-barcode-maximum-capacity/ . Have fun.

BTW, on this page you may notice some punctuation unusual. That’s because for Alphanumeric input mode, QR Code only accepts 0–9, A–Z (upper-case only), space, $, %, *, +, -, ., /, : . So I made a little transition for puncttuation used as below,

Original Punctuation After Transition
, +
%
? $
/
. .

It’s a pity that we can’t use those common punctuation here. But it’s better than nothing, isn’t it?

Okay, have a little fun with this barcode. And yes, please remember to drop me some comments, thanks. :-)