Thanks to the open nature of Android technology there is a wide range of tablet and handheld devices available that are being adopted as the hardware of choice by retail and hospitality software developers for traditional POS as well as emerging applications such as mobile payment, queue-busting and self-service ordering and click and collect terminals.
The choice of printing solutions is just as diverse with every format available, from small integrated printing devices to compact, portable receipt printers and counter top POS printing solutions. Having selected Android POS software and an optimal device, the same thought process should continue to the connected peripherals to provide customers with the very best experience possible. The key is to choose hardware which is reliable, has excellent connectivity options and offers flexibility for both current and future business needs.
Which Type of Printer?
The printer model which best fits the software solution will depend on the functionality and preferred connectivity method. There are a number of printer hardware manufacturers offering products across various price points, however choosing the printer purely based on lowest cost can often be a false economy. Instead, focus should be on reliability as well as total cost of ownership and identifying an experienced printer provider who can add value to your brand. A hardware provider who offers multiple printing solutions and well documented SDK’s / API’s is beneficial in order to streamline the integration process and establish one point of contact for support; including post-sales customer support.
Mobile or portable printers are battery powered for on-the-go use in stock rooms, restaurant table service or any application where employees are mobile and need a portable printer with wireless connectivity. It’s important to check how they connect to the Android device. Do they only allow one device to pair or many at the same time? Also crucial is to achieve the correct balance between robustness and portability so published drop test as well as reliability figures are useful. Long battery life and different charging options such as Micro USB and vehicle charging are equally important if there are no additional units available to swap in.
Fixed POS or order printers sit on or under the counter connected to a fixed Android terminal via USB or LAN or commonly to mobile tablets via WiFi or Bluetooth. Here it’s important to consider the form factor and usage. Does the printer need to be front loading for under-counter use or wall-mountable to save space? How important is liquid protection in bars and food prep areas for example? Does the printer offer paper saving features and simple logo and coupon printing? How simple is it to change the paper roll? A key consideration is connectivity for now and in the future. Does the printer offer multiple interfaces for wired or wireless connectivity or both as in the case of the Star mC-Print3? The unique USB-C cable port on the mC-Print3 provides direct communication, power delivery and network tethering between the printer and compatible Android tablets in addition to LAN, Bluetooth and Cloud connectivity all within the one model.
Kiosk printing solutions for click and collect stations, food ordering and self-service terminals to manage queues in areas with heavy footfall are becoming more widely used. Here, reliability is key with jam-free operation a must alongside ease of paper / label roll changing and additional features such as error and paper low reporting. It’s important to look at how the printers will connect with USB connectivity preferred for some Android touchscreens and tablets.
Simple Integration with Android POS Software
One of the crucial aspects for software & kiosk solution providers is how easy it is to integrate receipt and order printers with the POS software. Integrators should look to manufacturers who are able to offer a wide and proven range of devices and technologies as well as SDKs geared towards the Android marketplace. A comprehensive multi-product API with sample code and additional tools and configuration utilities can save valuable development time and costs. With the growing popularity of Android for web based applications where businesses need nothing more than a touchscreen, web browser and internet connection, it would also be prudent to look for printing solutions which offer web based printing protocols; this can allow web based control of not only the printer but also attached peripherals such as scanners, buzzers and customer displays. Together with the back-up of an experienced support team, this can make the difference between a system offering limited performance and a powerful system providing enhanced functionality.
Contact Star Today:
Working closely with Android software and kiosk developers for many years, Star has a wide knowledge of the different software and hardware options available. We’re happy to help with any enquiries about Android POS generally as well as provide support and advice for our innovative and affordable Android printing solutions. Why not get in touch with our Customer Success Team today and find out how we can help you.
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mC-Print tablet stand from BOXaPOS