Infinite Peripherals Inc. has developed a mobile point-of-sale device, the Linea-pro, for Apple Inc.’s iPod Touch designed to enable merchants to expedite consumer purchases.

An Arlington Heights, Ill.-based company that makes point-of-sale receipt printers, Infinite Peripherals designed Linea-pro to work with iPod applications so merchants could read product bar codes and card magnetic stripes with one device, the company notes in a recent news release. Linea-pro is compatible with Apple’s second- and third-generation iPod Touch.

Merchants pay $499 for the Linea-pro device, plus the cost of the iPod, and they can load their own point-of-sale software application into the iPod. Infinite Peripherals provides the Linea-pro hardware and the developer’s kit to participating merchants.

Similar to protective cases for mobile phones, Linea-pro is a separate piece of hardware that attaches to the iPod Touch. Combining the two devices enables merchants to process transactions while consumers shop instead of requiring customers to wait in checkout lines, Jeffrey Scott, Infinite Peripherals vice president of sales and marketing, tells PaymentsSource. Merchants use the iPod’s Wi-Fi connectivity to send transaction data to their processors.

Linea-pro can enable merchants to forego traditional cash registers to make room for more products, Scott contends. Merchants also may use the device to track employee work time using the scanner application to scan employee identification cards, Scott adds.

“There definitely is a market for this type of device,” Gwenn Bézard, research director at Boston-based Aite Group LLC, tells PaymentsSource. Merchants, however, are not always aware of new technology, he notes.

While these type of devices have a place in the market, one challenge is “figuring out the correct way to market the product,” Bézard says. This type of device may not be efficient or appeal to all merchants, so “vendors need to identify which merchants want to use the product,” he adds.

Indeed, this type of product is “just more evidence the time has come for the payment world and the mobile world to come together,” Todd Ablowitz, president of Double Diamond Group, a Centennial, Colo.-based consulting firm, tells PaymentsSource.

So far, 10,000 retail stores, including major chains, are interested in the device, and about 10 stores are testing the product, Scott says. Apple already is using the product for transactions in Apple stores, an outside source confirms.

Linea-pro only works with the iPod touch, but Infinite Peripherals plans to launch another version for Apple’s iPhone and other smartphones later this quarter, Scott says.

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