Legacy terminal operating systems – Telium for Ingenico and Prolin for Verifone and PAX – were based on Linux, an open and reliable system. This was, however, insufficiently developed commercially, with only a small base of developers behind it.
By switching to Android, payment terminals have more potential since they can accommodate a number of existing software, and many programmers are experienced in creating Android applications. This makes it much easier to develop an app market for a POS machine.
When it comes to hardware, manufacturers have adapted by developing devices with large touchscreens and more RAM (memory). Some Android card machines look downright like mobile phones, while others retain a more traditional look. Others move in the direction of cash registers with a more hybrid look.
The term smart POS terminal is sometimes used to refer to these new devices, but the term “Android payment terminal” is both more specific and easier to understand.
We present examples of commercially available Android terminals later, but first, let’s see what they can do practically.