POS 101: Proprietary Hardware Versus Free Hardware

Proprietary vs open source hardware

Republican or Democrat, team Edward or team Jacob, proprietary hardware or free hardware? Fundamental essentials questions we&#8217ve all considered at some point within our lives&#8212am I right? Okay, maybe everybody hasn&#8217t considered these exact lines of thought, however if you simply operate a store or perhaps a restaurant, or are connected to begin Purchase (POS) industry by any means, it may be beneficial that you should comprehend the distinction between proprietary and free POS hardware.

Proprietary POS Hardware 

Should you&#8217re whatsoever much like me (also known as, and not the most tech savvy person around) you will possibly not have known there is really a factor as proprietary hardware available. So, in order to save the trouble of wading with the wonderful realm of Google searches, I&#8217ll supply you with the definition. Proprietary hardware is basically of the organization which produces it. It’s frequently patented or under trade-secret protection, and often is restricted when it comes to use. What i’m saying by limited is the fact that an exclusive product is usually only capable of working with software along with other hardware products produced by its company/manufacturer. So, if you have a lot of hardware remaining out of your old POS system, don&#8217t rely on having the ability to utilize it along with your brand-new proprietary system. Odds are, you won&#8217t have the ability to.

I&#8217ll provide you with a loose example. For those who have an apple iphone and also you forget your charger, you&#8217re only going so that you can use another iPhone charger&#8212and it should be created for your form of the iPhone. For those who have an apple iphone 7 and all you are able find is really a 5s charger, you&#8217re SOL, my pal. Exactly the same principle pertains to an exclusive POS system.

Now, in the realm of POS, proprietary hardware is frequently considered more old-school. This really is partly because of the creation of pcs, and much more lately, iPads and tablets. Until fairly lately, POS systems all used proprietary hardware. Picture, for a moment, certainly one of individuals ancient electronic cash registers which were extremely popular within the 70s and 80s, and which some companies still use to this day. (Should you&#8217re more youthful than 30 you might have trouble picturing one. Do your very best.) These older machines all ran (but still run) on proprietary software and also have limited functionality.

That being stated, despite the fact that proprietary systems are usually considered outdated, technologically advanced and highly functional proprietary hardware continues to be developed today.

While modern proprietary systems cost a little more than their free counterparts, the truth that the hardware continues to be particularly designed to utilize the seller&#8217s software creates smooth functionality. Additionally, it could make troubleshooting specific glitches using the vendor a less complicated process.

One particualr well-known POS solution that utilizes proprietary hardware is First Data&#8217s Clover Reason for Purchase systems: Clover Station (pictured), Clover Small, and Clover Mobile. Paul Rasori, the VP of Product Managment initially Data, has this to say of the merits of proprietary systems:

&#8220[Clover provides] all-in-one solutions that combine printers and scanners, secure pin pads, contactless readers, nick card readers and magstripe readers, etc right into a single footprint. On the other hand, free solutions require developer to piecemeal these elements together from multiple vendors, which reduces reliability,  increases cost to cause a cumbersome solution for that merchant.&#8221

Clover Station hardware setup

Free POS Hardware

So, now that we understand what proprietary hardware is, we are able to discuss the choice. Based off of its name alone, the least technical people will be able to discern what free hardware means. Should you suspected it has something related to hardware that’s open for anybody to make use of, then ding, ding, ding! Champion, champion chicken dinner! Free hardware (sometimes known as commercial hardware) is hardware that’s available for public use anybody can adjust, distribute, and employ individuals products.

Say, for example, you choose it&#8217s time for you to change your POS system. If you select a method that enables for free hardware, you might be able to make use of your own iPad, tablet, computer, or smartphone to operate your POS system. With respect to the particular hardware needs of the POS, you may also have the ability to use a few of the other peripheral hardware you’ve left laying around (printers, cash drawers, etc.). Many POS companies sell hardware products individually and a few offer bundle deals. These may be good options, don&#8217t misunderstand me, if your POS works together with free hardware, you will find the freedom to buy hardware from multiple places, guaranteeing that you simply get the best deal.

Another perk to using a company that provides free hardware is it enables the organization to pay attention to software and also the consumer experience rather of on creating and looking after hardware. Based on Wajih Rahman, a lead sales engineer at Revel:

&#8220At Revel, [&#8230] we leverage relationships with industry leaders within the hardware space and integrate Revel’s POS with leading, free hardware manufacturers. This enables us to focus on the expertise of our finish-users, letting them utilize high cost and quality effective solutions from your partners.&#8221

There are lots of POS companies that offer free hardware, including Revel, ShopKeep, Vend, Lavu, Toast, and talech.


Some companies offer POS customers the choice to make use of whether proprietary or perhaps a commercial system. A couple of these include NCR Silver, NCR Pro, eHopper, and iConnect. The truly amazing factor relating to this is the fact that users don&#8217t need to sacrifice the POS software that they like the way it doesn&#8217t offer the kind of hardware they like.

Final Ideas

At this point you be aware of distinction between proprietary and free hardware and may showcase your newly found understanding next time this subject pops up in conversation. And merely over time! Everyone knows how often people like to speak about Reason for Purchase and also the hardware that is included with it!

If you’ve still got questions and therefore are searching for the best POS system for the business, tell us and we’d gladly help.

The publish POS 101: Proprietary Hardware Versus Free Hardware made an appearance first on Merchant Maverick.