Well it has been 5years since we began hearing about the”Tablet Disruptors”, and for all the hype and countless gushing articles surrounding the subject, common sense is finally beginning to win out. Venture Capital has started to understand that the 3 geeks that created an app that could kinda sorta replace a fictitious point of sale system are by no means qualified to run a business with large ambitions, as is evidenced by Revel’s management group”stepping down” to go pursue different opportunities. There’s also a rumor circulating around our industry that I’ve heard from several sources that Revel only has 6 months of cash left, and then things begin to implode. Imagine blowing $150MM in seven decades and having so little to show for it. Whoever gave these guys a blank check ought to be fired!
However, the purpose of this guide is not to revel in the impending demise of an overhyped competition; the purpose here is to explain why, beyond bad direction, all the iOS based tablet POS systems are doomed. When we developed our Mobile POS app many years ago, we hedged our wager on what operating system would win out and did a cross-platform app that runs on both iOS and Android. The thinking was that with many customers Apple is like a religion and they do not want to hear about an Android tablet. You do not see Android users camping out overnight for another Samsung Galaxy. Nevertheless, the long term reality is that Android is free, and many hardware manufacturers have adopted it for this reason alone. Also, exactly like in the days of the IBM PC versus the Apple Mac, IBM opened its specifications into the world which allowed for lots of 3rd party inventions while Apple was a closed system that finally stifled innovation. 20 year ago if you wanted a printer to your PC, you can select from 15 different brands, all competing for your business. If you wanted a printer to your Apple Mac, your only option was an Apple printer.
Merely to give you a contemporary parallel, here are your POS hardware choices by Operating System:
|Clover Mobile, Clover Flex, ELO I-Series, ELO PayPoint, PAX A920 and Numerous 15″ All-in-One POS Terminals. If you do not like any of these choices (almost all of which include integrated EMV) you can supply just about anything Android you can dream up from China directly.||iPad Mini, iPad and the Great Big iPad. EMV/payment capabilities aren’t included and are extremely pricey.|
I saw a recent piece of writing by an iPad POS firm comparing themselves (positively, of course) to a similar product which runs on Android. I had to laugh, because of all of the questionable things they made there is no escaping the fact that Android gives you FAR more hardware choices. Game over! Want EMV for your tablet computer POS system? On Android there are plenty of options coming out daily. For iOS you have two choices: Wait for Infinite Peripherals to roll out something that costs nearly as much as the iPad or use a Bluetooth solution that requires re-paired constantly. For the record, we did a Bluetooth payment choice at one stage and it got thrown from the client’s location because the link constantly dropped, which makes it a support nightmare along with being unreliable.
In summary, the day is finally here when these tablet computer science jobs will need to determine how to turn a profit or go extinct. For the record, I do not believe these companies will go away; they will simply have their resources bought by a credit card ISO and likely rebrand as something else to escape their reputations for low excellent software and poor service. The conventional VAR/ISV communities have weathered the”Disruptor” storm, even though the company landscape has changed forever. Where payment processing was an upsell that lots of ISVs and VARs did not adopt, payments and POS are now inseparable. And any VAR/ISV who hasn’t embraced that reality will endure the same fate as the”Tablet Disruptors”; only a footnote in POS history which we will all be talking with terms like”Remember these men?” 10 years from today.