So, your’re a developer or publisher with an app in play across the various major phone platforms and think that a QR code would be a great way for your prospective users to download it? The only problem is that several platforms means several QR codes – one for the iTunes App Store, one for Google Play, etc – which makes things a bit messy. And what do you do about people that scan the QR code with a smartphone type that you don’t offer a version for?
With our “App Store Download” QR code data type we’ve solved this problem for you with one QR code that covers all smartphone types. At the heart of this QR code is an automatic device-type detection script at our end (that is completely transparent to the person scanning the QR code) that identifies what sort of phone they have and makes sure that the user is seamlessly sent to the app store that matches their smartphone type.
Simply enter URL’s of the pages on the various app stores that you do have versions for and this QR code looks after the rest.
For smartphone types that you don’t have an app version for (say, Blackberry) you can also specify a “Fallback URL” that the users of those non-supported devices will be automatically redirected to. This can be the website for the app itself, a greeting page for users of non-supported phones inviting expressions of interest for the release of that particular platform version, an announcement that that version will be available soon, or any other URL you think is appropriate.
Since we released it in May 2012, the “App Store Download” data type has been the single most commented-on data type by our users, with many taking the time to email us about how useful it is, particularly considering the cumbersome length and complexity of most app store URL’s.
How To Make One
- Go to www.qrstuff.com and choose the “App Store Download” data type.
- Enter the link to the page for your app on the iTunes App Store.
- If you have an Android version too then tick the box next to “Google Play App Link” and enter the link to the page for your app on the Google Play store. If you only have an Android version then untick the iTunes one and go straight to Step 5.
- Repeat if you have a Windows and/or Blackberry version.
- Enter your Fallback URL.
- Download your finished QR code.
To maximise the flexibility of this type of QR code we’re also testing built-in implicit support for app store custom URI’s when used in place of standard http:// style page links. The custom URI’s currently supported are:
- itms:// and itms-services:// for iTunes links
- market:// for Google Play links
- appworld:// for Blackberry App World
As an extra bonus this data type is fully dynamic so if you’re a paid subscriber you will be able to update the app store links whenever you need to.
Try It Out
Since our favourite QR code scanning app, Scan, is available on iPhone, Android and Windows Phone we’ve used that as our example above. We’ve added the links to the app store pages for their iPhone, Android and Windows Phone versions and made their own website the Fallback URL.
The finished QR code, and how it works, is shown below – try it out for yourself.
If you come across any smartphone types that don’t give the correct result just email us with the details – we’re constantly updating our device-detection database as new phone models are released.