UK firm debuts Android-driven tablet for retail digital signage

November 28, 2011 by Dave Haynes

When the iPad was first announced, lotsa people started musing about how these sleek screens could be used in retail settings at the shelf edge and on counters.

But the rather big caveat was that the things were not designed for steady public use and abuse. Even Apple has done some protective work and bolted down the tablets for use as accompanying information displays on the merchandising/demo tables in its stores.

A UK company, called I-Display, has released a new product that looks really nicely though through in terms of packaging up a tablet for true retail use. The company has side-stepped the whole closed system Apple thing by developing on the Google Android system.

The company has been marketing a product for several months now, but is now aggressively promoting its Android product and its bells and whistles.

“… the i View Android offers a complete interactive digital signage solution,” reads the narrative on the product web page. “The i View Android is a compact, elegantly designed, 10.2”, interactive digital display for the retail market. The battery operated digital display provides a rich communication channel between brands and their customers.

Based on Android 2.3 open operating system and equipped with a touch screen i View Android offers retailers and brands the ability to benefit from a multitude of applications to promote products, run campaigns and entertain customers in- store.”

The thing has embedded Wi-Fi  and auto-connects to a web based back-end and content is managed though hooks into Scala‘s digitalsignage software. What’s interesting to me is the hot-swap battery and charging system that makes these units capable of being plopped in the middle of merchandising without needing to run power. The batteries are rated for up to 10 hours.

Based on the Android open operating system, says the press release, the i View Android offers retailers the ability to utilize a wide variety of retail applications to promote products, run campaigns, entertain customers and communicate with them in-store. Retailers can download applications from the Android Market or develop their own applications.

With access to a wide range of retail applications ,customer entertaining games, product information and pricing applications, interactive feedback forms, club membership registration applications and web browser for internet surfing, the i View Android gives consumers a new way to engage with brands while providing them a hands free tablet experience. Additionally, the i View Android allows retailers to develop multiple enterprise management applications, thus providing store management visibility at their fingertips.

A wide range of accessories are available to complement this product. The I Dispenser tray integrated with the i View Android provides restaurants and bar customers with an exciting Interactive Digital Menu Board experience. Restaurant necessities are placed on the Dispenser Tray while a wide variety of applications can run on the i View Android.

Note: the dispenser tray appears to be a bit of integrated plastic that means you can cram sugar packets and stirrer sticks beside the screen. Woohoo.

In addition, the i View Android can easily connect to a printer so that customers can print out coupons or in-store promotions, encouraging increased sales for retailers. Retailers may benefit from the i View Android’s applications interactivity with customers’ mobile phones and emails by adding forms and QR codes to the various applications thus building a customer data base and allowing customers to scan codes to receive product information and discounts.

“The i View Android, with its advanced touch-screen and Android operating system, is a revolutionary digital signage unit that lets the customer be in charge of their retail experience,” says Ariel Haroush, I Display’s CEO. “It is a new era in the digital signage world. No more a simple advertising machine. With i View Android it is all a matter of interactivity and two ways communication; between the brand and the customer and between the screen and the smart phones. By offering customers a personal experience they begin to build brand loyalty that helps to increase retailers’ bottom line sales. We have taken what we know works in the digital signage retail environment and have enhanced it to provide the newest technologies that help engage customers and provide repeat sales for retailers.”

OK, “revolutionary” and “new era in digital signage” are reaching, in a big way. But what’s been developed here might have some legs if the price points are right (no mention of that in the release or online) and the things do indeed stand up to the public.

The company has some good lawyers, one hopes, as there are ALL kinds of things – hardware and apps – called iview and i view. And Apple has been know to crush like little bugs anyone or thing that tries to borrow on its i-franchise.

If the company seems slightly familiar, they had a nice little toothpaste shelf-talker thing out last year, which ran on consumer batteries.

Marketing lesson: The press release is a little over the top and not exactly well written, but the company does a pretty nice job with a demo video. Arguably, it’s a little on, but it’s also quite effective (and doesn’t have a low-budget Euro dance track behind it … yay!).

[youtube id=”v6m3C72JJJY” width=”600″ height=”350″]

  1. Gabriele says:

    An awesome product! can’t wait to get my hands on one of these! i found some useful information here! Android based Digital Signage tablet

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