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Benefits of Tablet Kiosks

Tablet kiosk Benefits

After years of PC domination, it is becoming quite clear that tablets can provide a viable alternative to PC kiosks.  There are three main tablet operating systems on the market.  What are the benefits of each OS?

Benefits of Windows™ in a Self Service Environment:

Given the long existence of the Microsoft™ Windows™ OS, external devices have been created and integrated for use with devices running the Windows OS.  Fortunately, Windows has also released a number of tablets and PCs that provide users with touch screen capabilities, allowing for simple interaction and extensive external device support.   Some task just can not (or should not) be done in anything other than Windows, and should not be done with tablets.  In those cases, PCs will not go away, but will continue to serve those areas and needs.  Windows Tablets will provide a viable go between for some of those tasks.

Windows tablet kiosks provide great external device support, and are particularly suited for web based transactions/interactions.   They allow for more robust printing of RFID bracelets, extensive data entry/typing, and printing options as well as having the benefit of being more familiar to users, given that all ages and socio economic backgrounds have access to computers through libraries, home computers, and other public access opportunities.

Weakness of Windows in a Self Service Environment

Tablets running a Windows OS are slightly more expensive and  provide specific challenges when requiring access to a desktop application.  Web-based applications and websites are the “sweet spot” for Windows devices.

Benefits of Android™ in a Self Service Environment

Android Tablets have the benefit of being less expensive than devices running other Operating Systems, with the additional benefit of availability of inexpensive applications.   This means that the devices can be restricted to specific websites and applications with only a few clicks of a kiosk software configuration.  New applications are developed at a rapid rate, meaning that programs that do not exist today may well exist tomorrow, particularly given that mobile usage continues to increase while web browsing sees a decrease.

Weakness of Android in a Self Service Environment

External device availability is less robust than Windows.

Benefits of Apple™ OS in a Self Service Environment

Similar to Android, only potentially more so, Apple has an abundance of applications to choose from and an increase in that number each day.  While iPads tend to out-price both Windows and Android tablets, they also have a large base of user familiarity, considering the overwhelming market share that the iPad started with earlier this decade.

Weakness of Apple in a Self Service Environment

External device availability is less robust than Windows, and you pay for the privilege of the brand.

Benefits of Tablet Hardware Enclosures over PC Kiosk Hardware

Hardware to enclose tablets tends to be less expensive than hardware for PCs, require less floor space, and are usually simpler to locate and ship, with a number of manufacturers to choose from.

Weakness of Tablet Hardware Enclosures over PC Kiosk Hardware

When utilizing external devices, PC hardware enclosures that accommodate retractable printers, credit card scanners, barcode readers, RFID printers, kiosk mats for sensors, kiosk movement sensors, etc have already been created and deployed.  Outdoor kiosks that weather the heat and/or rain have also been tested through years of experience and deployment examples.  The history, knowledge base, and case studies from which to choose from go back decades and can not be replicated for any other operating system.

Which OS to use?

Read more about how to select the operating system that will best suit your self service needs.   Products exist that will lock down each operating system (kiosk software) and the hardware (tablet enclosures).   

As always, you have options for kiosk software to lock down your tablet kiosk.   KioWare (for Windows & Android) is one such kiosk software solution.  Others include Provisio and Kiosk Simple.

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