About Android Operating System
In the retail and restaurant industries, much has been said about the benefits afforded by the Android operating system (OS). These include:
High degree of customisability. First, Android OS is the most customisable OS that is commonly used. This enables developers to tailor-make features that get to the heart of business needs. It also reduces hassle and costs for businesses as they do not need to source for third-party integrations when they find a feature lacking.
Highly scalable. When businesses expand, their POS needs change. The customisability of Android OS allows businesses to modify software to their needs. In addition, Android OS is optimised for remote access as data is stored in a cloud server instead of on local devices. This feature makes it perfect for multi-store configurations.
Intuitive. Training employees to operate an Android POS terminal is hassle-free. Employees are likely familiar with the Android OS, as they have seen it in action on their personal tablets and smartphones. Consequently, training a new employee to use Android POS hardware is a simple process that takes just a short amount of time — typically, just a few minutes. The less time training takes, the lower the business’ training expenditure and the lower the chances of losing a customer who cannot wait for a transaction to be processed by an employee who is still unaccustomed to the POS system.
Variety of hardware and software to choose from. Android OS is open source. Also, Google does not restrict the usage of Android OS to their devices. Thus, any developer and manufacturer can design Android-based software or hardware, enabling businesses to find the best fit from a wide range of options. This advantage of Android OS should not be taken lightly – this is not possible on Windows and iOS.
Paired with cost-effective hardware. There is a variety of hardware to choose from, including mobile POS, desktop POS, kiosks, and more. Thus, businesses considering Android-run POS systems can easily find one that suits their budget and requirements.
However, using an Android POS system is not just a bed of roses. There are also some disadvantages associated with choosing Android OS, such as:
Disruption by display advertisements. If businesses download free applications, some advertisements may be shown as developers try to cover costs. While this is a small trade off to reduce costs, it may affect the ease of use for employees.
Some security risks. It is extremely important for users of POS systems to not download files or open suspicious links. POS systems contain a great deal of sensitive business and customer data, and an unintended slip up may be the weak link for malicious attackers to exploit. That being said, the security risks on Android devices is typically less than on Windows devices.
Dilemma of choosing good hardware. Good software must be paired with good hardware to perform optimally. With so many options in the market, businesses may face the problem of selecting suitable hardware. Read on to find out how to evaluate POS hardware, and separate the good from the bad.
Android POS Hardware
So, how should businesses choose hardware for Android OS? Here are three steps to take before selecting POS hardware:
Decide the POS hardware category. Does your business require a mobile POS for on the go employees? A traditional desktop POS? Or a self-service kiosk? There are many POS hardware options, and narrowing down what your business requires will make the process of finding a hardware vendor easier.
Look out for key specifications. Which version of Android does the POS hardware support? Given that the lifecycle of commercial hardware can be as long as five to ten years, it is important to choose the latest OS to not fall behind in the years to come. Currently, the latest version in the market is Android 11. Other important specifications include its processor, display resolution, and touch screen sensitivity.
Book a demo or viewing. The quality of hardware can also be determined by look and feel. Is the device of an appropriate weight and design? Does the screen resolution look bright and clear? Are the parts well connected or are there many crevices for dust and grease to settle? This is particularly critical for devices used in F&B, as spills and splashes and common occurrences.
With this roundup of pros and cons of an Android POS OS as well as steps to choosing Android POS hardware, business owners will be better informed and make the best decision.
For more insights into POS system hardware, check out this article.