Why The Samsung Galaxy Tablet Can’t Read Barcodes

Recently, a customer attempted to use their Samsung Galaxy Tablet 4 to read barcodes via the integrated camera.  Regardless of what we tried, the device was not able to read a standard Code 39 barcode using the ZXing barcode application which is integrated within our PowerTrack mobile software.

We reached out to ZXing support and they gave some pointers on selecting an Android device to read barcodes via the camera.   First, they indicated that they’ve had very little success in reading barcodes with Samsung Galaxy tablets.  For some, it was an issue with the camera driver.  For others, it is the lack of autofocus with the camera.  Bottom line, they said to avoid Samsung tablets if reading barcodes via the camera is a requirement.

Although ZXing did not recommend a specific manufacturer or model, they did emphasize that one of the keys to successfully reading the barcodes is that the camera must have autofocus capabilities.  There are several tablets that do meet this criteria – whether consumer-grade tablets or commercial devices from companies like Motorola or Honeywell.

We can help you with this selection.  You can also test the device yourself by downloading the free ZXing app from the Google Play Store.   It is better to test up front, before purchasing dozens or hundreds of units lacking an important capability.

About the Author

Dan Wilkerson is responsible for PowerTrack software development on the Android and iOS platforms.  Dan also provides technical leadership, architectural direction and new technology assessments for the PowerTrack team.  Dan has over 20 years of software development experience in mobile products and industrial automation.