HP plans to sell a tablet-based point of sale system that integrates payments with a number of other business operations.

Called HP TX1 POS, the Windows 8.1 tablet is designed to transactions, back office tasks and ancillary merchant services.  The tablet will be demonstrated through Feb. 27 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and will be available to merchants in May.

HP is not positioning the product as a mobile point of sale system, but more as an upgrade of a traditional point of sale system that includes mobile technology. "Instead of just being about mobile payments, it's an all-in-one system," says Cory McElroy, strategy planning manager for HP.

The HP TX1 is designed primarily for smaller businesses in retail and hospitality and combines the capabilities of the HP ProPad 600 tablet with a point of sale stand and accessories such as a cash drawer and receipt printer. The stand holds the tablet upright and allows it to turn and tilt to capture a consumer's signature. The company did not disclose the product's price, saying it would vary by configuration.

The HP TX1 also includes a USB hub, bar code scanner and 64 GB of storage. The tablet can accept magnetic stripe, contactless and EMV payments.

"The [system] will be able to work inside and outside of the U.S.," McElroy says, adding HP plans to partner with resellers, financial institutions and other local partners to offer the system to merchants. 

While the tablet can detach from its stand to work as a mobile point of sale system, McElroy says HP has other products that are better suited for remote payments acceptance. The ElitePad, which HP released in August 2013, includes mobile point of sale and assisted selling capabilities. The HP TX1 is a bit heavier than the ElitePad.

The tablet's ability to detach from the stand is more geared toward using business management software accessible from Windows.  "When business owners are closed or at home, they can connect to Microsoft Office or Quickbooks and have the full PC capabilities," McElroy says, adding that this capability aids in inventory, store and financial management.

HP joins a long line of mobile point of sale providers using a tablet as the basis for their product. Square's version, called Square Stand, is a case that requires merchants to provide their own iPad. Square also offers a cash drawer, receipt printer and bar code scanner as add-on items.

Other providers include Leaf, which offers a business-specific tablet that includes payments, merchant services, CRM and an app store for payments software. Leaf in 2013 drew investment from Heartland Payment Systems. Groupon offers a tablet-based point of sale system called Breadcrumb POS.

"From an operational perspective, mid to small-sized business owners worldwide, whether a retailer, physician's office or restaurant are in the midst of one a great period of transformation," says Phil Philliou, a payments consultant. "Inexpensive tablet-based registers will displace expensive, immovable registers."

These tablets will also allow retailers to take advantage of other emerging innovation such as Bluetooth beacons other location-based services, Philliou says.

"The relationship between a consumer's mobile device and the retailer's point of sale and cloud-based information management system will increase exponentially," Philliou says. "Those who don't adapt will find themselves at a massive disadvantage in terms of their ability to satisfy the needs of their customers, attract prospects, and in terms of [managing] overall operating costs."

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