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Which OS is Better for Self Service?
With the increasing popularity of the Android operating system, a common question in the self-service industry is which operating system should be used. Windows has ruled the roost for so many years that it is refreshing to see Android as a viable solution.
Apple’s iOS can also be part of the discussion but it is clear that since Apple has a complete lock on both the hardware and operating system, and since their only focus is consumer solutions, the self-service industry is left feeling ignored. Certainly, there are some self service solutions that Apple can fill but their lack of providing OEM features to ensure 24/7 robustness is limiting.
Initially Android suffered the same OEM issues as Apple. Previously, manufacturers shipped tablets targeting the consumer market. Lately there has been much progress in developing hardware that can be consistently deployed with 24/7 reliability better suited to the self-service industry.
A challenge for Android manufacturers will be competing with decades of peripherals which have been developed for the Windows operating system. Already, cameras and RFID readers have been built into Android devices, and external devices for barcode and magstripe reading exist with new devices regularly announced. Still, the long list of peripherals which exist for Windows is staggering and includes bill and coin acceptors/dispensers, biometric devices like fingerprint scanners, specialty printers such as RFID band printers, card dispensers and environmental input devices such as temperature and humidity sensors, and much more.
Certainly, any self-service project that requires a special hardware peripheral that Android doesn’t currently support ensures they won’t be involved, but otherwise what is the best choice? Good question. Price, form factor, and environmental issues come into play. Android tends to be dramatically more affordable. Form factor still leans more toward Windows but Android’s many manufacturers are quickly catching up.
Environmentally, Windows still has a significant lead. Try to find an Android device suitable for a filthy, oily manufacturing environment and compare that against available Windows devices; Windows still wins. The best strategy is to be ready to embrace both Windows and Android platforms and use whichever is most appropriate for a particular task. You may find that you benefit from using both an Android and a Windows device, so it is important that the application and underlying kiosk system software supports both Android and Windows. KioWare’s kiosk system software solutions are offered on both Windows and Android OS; the KioWare team can help you decide which platform will best fit your needs.
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