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We wrote about Blippar back in May before it launched, but now the app is out there and major brands are on board, we can see how well this alternative to QR works. 

This week, Tesco has been running ads in several national newspapers, with 'Blippable' content for users with the iPhone or Android apps. 

So is Blippar a better alternative to QR codes, or does it still suffer from some of the same drawbacks? 

First, let's take a look at the Blippar app in action. I didn't buy any of the tabloids yesterday, but there are a collection of ads on the company's Facebook page that you can try the app with. 

Once you have the Blippar app, it's a question of opening it and pointing it at the ad. Unlike QR codes, the whole ad is the response mechanism, so just pointing it in the general direction of the ad works. 

Here's the Tesco ad: 

Once I hover my phone over it, it turns into this: 

From this point, I have the option of viewing today's recipe, or finding my nearest store via Tesco's mobile site. 

Another example is this Omega print ad: 

The app then shows me a 3D image of the watch:

Then allows me to try it on: 

There are other ads, such as this for Jurassic Park, which then sends me to a trailer for the movie, but you get the idea. 

So can Blippar become a QR code killer? 

This remains to be seen, and much will depend on building awareness of the app and getting it onto people's mobile phones. 

Of course, having a major brand like Tesco using it for the 'Price Drop' campaign will help, and the ad does encourage readers to download the Blippar app. 

Blippar does suffer from some of the same drawbacks as QR codes, namely the need to download an app, encouraging users to make the effort to get their phone out and fire up the app, as well as the task of building awareness (a recent survey found that two-thirds of consumers don't know what QR codes are).  

These drawbacks are not impossible to overcome. For example, if you can build awareness and give people a compelling reason to scan ads, such as discount codes or promotions, then uptake will grow. 

Blippar does have some advantages over QR codes. There have been some excellent uses of QR, but some of the Blippar ads do provide more of a wow factor, while the user experience is smooth, the ads and landing pages worked very quickly when I tried them. 

With several high profile brands on board, including Cadbury's, Eurostar, Samsung and more, as well as Tesco, Blippar is one to watch. 

Graham Charlton

Published 27 September, 2011 by Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton is the former Editor-in-Chief at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter or connect via Linkedin or Google+

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Comments (22)

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Richard

Blippar is wow. I tried metro win an iPad competition using blippar and loved the concept. It's new but i agree wow factor is much higher than QR.

almost 5 years ago

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Simon

Would be great if I could actually find it on Android Market, not even the link from the Blippar site works :(

Concept looks great though, QR is not a great experience.

almost 5 years ago

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Terry Benge

Blippar really has the wow factor, but how good is it actually to use?
I've looked at it on the Samsung S11 and the iphone4 and the user experience is not great.

Firstly the app is very slow on both devices, you can't exactly whip it out and use it quickly. There are lots of delays and it gets worse if you try to view differenet brands. I guess this will get better as the app improves.

Secondly, how much did these examples cost to produce? Its not going to be a small business option. Also what will blippar be charging to upload the AR images into the catalogue?

QR codes allow the same functionlity without all the jiggling around of the screen.

The same AR application linked to a QRs or a form of QR will be the future. These will be cheap to produce and far more open. Not sure people will want to be loked into Blippar.

almost 5 years ago

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Alan Connor, Digital Manager at Nucleus Financial

Curious how Blippar compares to Aurasma? Is it the same technology? Does one have a particular advantage over another?

almost 5 years ago

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SAM DWYER, Analyst at Econsultancy

Awesome. QR is so ugly.

almost 5 years ago

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Nigel Clark

As stated elsewhere would be great if I could load it - my phone is an android htc Desire.

Also QR code are ugly but at least you know one when you see one. AR apps like blippar are very clever but will required advances in smartphone technology and user awareness before they make their mark.

QRcodes will be overtaken but not yet.

almost 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

I'll ask Blippar about the Android version and post a link. I used the iPhone app for this article.

almost 5 years ago

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Edwin Hayward

What happens when handset makers start building in the ability to read QR codes as their use increases, as already happened in Japan (where close to 100% of "modern" mobile phones can now read QR codes natively)?

It's incredibly unlikely they'll choose to rally around a specific company's app instead (QR codes are free to use and not subject to any license).

almost 5 years ago

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Omar

I think its weird because common consumers wouldnt know where the heck to point the camera. With QR codes at least its a little obvious and consumers even have trouble with that. There needs to be a more definite branded icon image that stands out

almost 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

According to Blippar, the Android app, which is still in beta, isn't available for 'slower' handsets...

almost 5 years ago

Graham Charlton

Graham Charlton, Editor in Chief at ClickZ Global

@Edwin - good point, inbuilt readers are one way to broaden the usage of QR codes.

This would be a threat to Blippar, though brands like Tesco could use Blippar's technology into their own apps, if they had some early success with campaigns like this.

almost 5 years ago

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PeterD

Not available for 'slower' handsets.

Looks like the guys have launched the service ahead of the Android App.
They have lost my interest already.
You can't post broken links, unless you just want to annoy your prospective client base.

almost 5 years ago

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blippar

First off, an apology to those of you who have experienced issues with the android version of blippar. It is currently in 'beta' stage and we are working as quickly as possible to remove any kinks.

@Terry Benge, we are indeed looking at options to be available for small businesses.

I notice a lot of confusion about the difference between Blippar and QR codes. A key blippar advantage over QR codes is that most blippar content is available instantly without the need for wifi or 3G, allowing consumers to engage with brands anytime, anywhere - even on the tube! And content is designed to fit your screen. Thus the user experience is really different than a weblink through the use of a QR code. QR codes can be awkward and fiddly to scan whereas blippar is instantaneous and uses the whole image or product to trigger the experience.

In reference to recognising blippar enabled ads, blippable brands will be be listed in the in-app catalogue and whilst at the discretion of brands, most ads will include a blippar 'b' call to action. In any case, just point your phone at the add or product packaging and blippar will recognise the image not the blippar logo.

almost 5 years ago

Peter Leatherland

Peter Leatherland, Online Sales Manager at Ethical Superstore

"isn't available for 'slower' handsets..." That would seem to include the HTC Sensation which is hardly slow

All looks fantastic but QR codes have the advantage of being easy to use, most modern phones will work with them, you don't have to have one specific app. When more rival services come out it will be far too small a market to base your advert around, maybe 1-2% of people looking at the ad will have the functionality on their phone to use it, and less the inclination if it is as slow and clunky as the reviews suggest.

This would be a winner if it was already on all phones (or perhaps a standard is introduced which many different apps can work with) and was quick, easy to use, and available for all new phones. Pretty poor effort as my phone has been out since July and is one of the best selling but is incompatible :-( I want to have a go!

almost 5 years ago

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Katie Leaver

If Blippar is to replace the QR code, it would be a testament to the speed at which technology is now moving. Most companies are still learning to adapt to using QR codes – will they ever be able to keep up?
Katie Leaver, London Loves Jobs

almost 5 years ago

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susan

It seems the beta issues still not resolved. Am really disappointed that I can't install the app. I have a HTC desire.

almost 5 years ago

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kevin

QR codes are instant scans also. QR= Quick Response. AugReal will become standard, but not for many years.

over 4 years ago

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Gordon Parkin

@Graham Charlton

I have an Android HTC HD and I have been unable to download the Blippar App for my phone. Is there a list of Android phones that can download and run Blippar?

over 4 years ago

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Mel Rushton, Digital marketing and development manager at The Co-operative Food

I am not sure why everyone keeps saying Blippar is on android when it isn't on the android market and the version which is linked to on the Blippar site, a beta, doesn't work. You can't actually get the app.

So good in principle but definitely not opened up to the scope of the market yet.

over 4 years ago

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Bishop

Its 2012 and the android version is still in beta, and still not appearing on the market for download
I have a htc wildfire s - is it classed as a 'slower handset'?

over 4 years ago

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Jennie Hawkes

Im devostated, i bought The Wanted tour programme thinking ' YEAH I CAN BLIPP IT !! ' Was devostated when i left the concert and realised that i cant get it on my HTC Wildfire :'( PLEASE FIX THIS , I NEED TO SE THE EXCLUSIVE CONTENT!!!! xx Many Thanks xxxx
Btw im only 13 :P

over 4 years ago

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Elicia

Blippar is amazing! Comparing it to the current QR method of interacting with consumers is like comparing your Ipod with your CD Player. It will not only replace it entirely, It is in a league of its own. I would love to rep this product and tell every manufacturer with a brand, that if they have print ads, they have to have Blippar. Consumers will soon be expecting it. It is what they need to stay competitive, especially if they are the current brand leader.
Elicia

almost 4 years ago

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