POS stack targets Linux netbooks  

Posted by Daniela Mehler

POS stack targets Linux netbooks

A vendor of Java-based POS (point-of-sale/service) software for the hospitality industry applications is touting wireless Linux netbooks as POS terminals. Volante says Linux netbooks are "more cost effective, flexible, and allow for greater freedom of choice in software," compared to traditional restaurant order-entry handhelds.

(Click for larger view of the Volante POS interface)

According to Volante, the number of POS terminals running Linux in North America has increased 80 percent since 2002 (it did not cite a source for the figures). Meanwhile, the IHL Group in February reported that Linux accounted for $475 million of the $5.56 billion North American POS market, putting it third overall with an 8.5 percent market share, behind Windows-based machines and just barely behind IBM 4690 terminals. Yet, Linux is gaining ground fast, the IHL Group found.

At the same time, according to Volante, few POS software packages have been ported to Linux so far. It hopes that fact will open the door for its "Volante POS" application, a cross-platform Java suite said to support a wide variety of mobile POS devices, including netbooks and other low-cost Linux devices, as well as standard POS gear. Volante reports that its software was recently piloted with success on Linux devices at Garden Fresh, presumably a restaurant chain.

Volante POS

Volante POS is aimed at venues such as large restaurants, stadiums, trade shows, casinos, arenas, race tracks, and outdoor sales areas where conventional POS terminals are not practical, says the company. The peer-to-peer software offers POS features including customizable floor plans, real-time table status, check splitting, customer tab tracking, tab transferring, and time and attendance, says Volante. The software also provides customer relationship management (CRM) features such as support for loyalty points programs, preferences ranking, and gift cards, as well as numerous reporting features, says the company.

POS stack targets Linux netbooks

Volante POS table management screen

According to Volante, the Linux version of Volante POS running on wireless-enabled mini-notebooks provides a number of advantages over dedicated POS terminals. For example, says the company, with mobile POS devices, serving staff do not waste time standing in line waiting for their turn at the terminal. Instead, orders are transmitted instantly at the table. The company did not say whether the software requires a touchscreen.

Unlike a PDA-based POS device, meanwhile, the Linux interface is similar to Volante's Windows- and Mac-based Volante POS terminal software, says Volante. As a result, for locations with both wired and wireless terminals, waiters do not not need to learn two different interfaces. In addition, there is no need for separate servers to handle both handhelds and traditional registers.


Volante did not offer pricing or availability information on the Linux version of Volante POS. Nor did it offer details on Linux development software or the degree to which developers can customize the platform. More information on the Linux version of Volante POS can be found here, and a detailed feature list for Volante POS may be found here. Versions are also said to be available on Unix and Windows 2000/XP platforms.

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This entry was posted on 10:42 PM .