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Linux brings multimedia content to PIN-entry pad

May 26, 2005 — by Henry Kingman — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

VeriFone has used embedded Linux to build a secure PIN pad that doubles as an in-store advertising kiosk. The MX870 supports RFID, smart cards, biometric identification, and various touch technologies, and is designed to deliver multimedia presentations while customers complete their checkout process.

(Click for larger view of VeriFone MX870)

The MX870 has a smaller footprint than most POS (point-of-sales/service) PIN-entry pads, according to Verifone, yet features a 5.7-inch QVGA (240×320) active-matrix color LCD that supports 16-bit (65K) color and full-motion video. The LCD has a hardened glass capacitive touchscreen and virtual keypad that works with a non-mechanical tethered stylus device. Integrated stereo surround-sound speakers are, mercifully, optional.

The MX870 is based on a 200MHz Samsung ARM9 processor. It comes with 16MB of RAM, and 32-128MB of Flash. Storage capacity is field-upgradable via USB storage devices, Verifone says, while an optional 10/100 Ethernet LAN port enables playback of network-based multimedia content.

Standard I/O ports include one RS-425 port and two RS-232 ports that support VeriFone's multiport sensing cables, it says. Ethernet/RS-232 is also an option.

The device has an illuminated bi-directional magnetic strip card reader with a software-controllable LED prompt. A smart-card reader and touchless ISO 14443 AB module are optionally available.

The VeriFone MX870 is a classic example of the kind of convergence Linux brings to the device world; Linux-based PIN entry pads have been shipped by several vendors, including NEC and Trintech, while Linux-based networked signage products are available from First Technologies, Lucid Signs, Real Digital Media, and others. The MX870 appears to be the first device to integrate both, however.

CIO Insight has published a story about the MX870 that does not fail to note that customers completing a purchase at a PIN entry pad comprise a more-or-less captive audience. The CIO Insight story can be found here.

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