By Mac Harris

The newly formed phone division of PC-hardware giant Asus is turning geek-heads with its new J105 phone, available now only in Taiwan. What sets this strikingly bland looking clamshell apart from the herd is basically some clever imaging software and a (very Asian) marketing campaign. The phone’?s 2 megapixel camera can recognize and interpret QR Codes [the modern day barcodes of the East.] that people wear; reporting back stats and personal information about that person.

These codes are omnipresent in many Asian cities and can be printed onto anything from stickers to, as seen in the press photo, temporary? tattoos. The premise is quite simple. You see someone interesting on your daily bullet train commute to SuperGlobalElectronics Concern, snap a picture of their barcode, and receive stats and information about that person immediately on your phone.

While QR Code reading phones are nothing new in countries like Japan and Taiwan for shopping and product identification, this is the first use I’?ve seen of the technology in the social networking realm. That’?s what Asus is betting on in its marketing campaign for the phone. This is just the beginning folks, expect other technologies in the future to notify us if a friend of a friend of a friend (think Myspace/Friendster) walks past us while in line at the Grocery.

Story VIA Akihabara News

On a lighter note, presenting the delicious, data-filled QR Code cake


  1. Big Brother is scanning your bar code… Kinda creepy. More interestign would be a phone that can parse UPC codes and can give you information about the product you scanned; nutritional info for food, competitive prices at several local and internet retailers, and so forth. Someone has a neat book you want to read? Just snap a pic of the UPC, and when you have time, look at who is nearby or inexpensive that has the book in stock. Presto!

  2. Invasion of Privacy? This tech is not what you should be afraid of. Have you heard of a little technology called RFID? Soon every product sold in the US will have tiny radio antennas built into the packaging that will replace the barcodes used today. Think of this scenario: As you walk into your local Walmart store, an RFID scanner bounces invisible signals off you, reporting back to the mothership details of every item on your person. “I see you’re carrying Aveda lip gloss, Gucci sunglasses, and 400 dollars cash in your purse: Perhaps you would like to try these related products (a la’s “other people who bought this product also bought this”) Scary huh?