Preh Touchkey

July 30, 2008

Hey this is a keyboard that actually seems cool. Not quite Optimus cool, but it’s still unique and could be rad for all sorts of nerds. The Preh Touchkey keyboard has a touchscreen LCD built into it and hooks into an xml driver app to contextually change the layout depending on what commands have been entered on the touchscreen or the physical keys.

It’s a pretty basic screen, monochrome and you can put shapes & stuff on it, but it could be totally awesome for like WoW players, being able to use the buttons on the side to bring up different skill lists for different encounters. Even better, the Preh Keyboards can be programmed to have something like 65k inputs, with timing & looping, per keystroke, so you could program it to get you from town to town or fight monsters for you. You still have to be there to push the button, but now you can like eat a sammich or watch cartoons instead!

And like every other POS Keyboard in existence, the TouchKey was designed to withstand howitzer fire pretty much. Each key is rated at 30 million full actuations, or 10 minutes of killing zombies in Diablo II.

As I’ve mentioned before, we review products that we sell. It’s no big secret that 95% of the POS retailers out there probably have a good handle on their product lines, but they don’t share that with the customer. Maybe they just like to feel special. I don’t know. Anyway, we’ve got about 35 reviews up live right now, but we’re not getting a lot of traffic through them, so my boss had me check out the metadata to see if anything weird was going on there. I give it a look and find out that half of them are identical to our template. No biggie, just means I have to make words up so Google looks at the pages and says “Ohhhhhhh, that’s a Symbol MC35 review, awesome!” instead of “Ohhh that’s a pos review what is that again?”

So I spent about a day whittling away at these descriptions, making them actually reference the product properly, as well as a little blurb about the contents. It was challenging after a while to be unique for each review. I’m pretty sure every 5th one has the same format with different main words. Oh well. It’s the thought that counts.

I don’t know when the site’s going to get crawled again, but here’s hoping that helps bump them up a bit too.

We’ve worked pretty closely with POS-X over the past few years. They’re our go-to hardware for creating complete solutions, mostly because all their equipment works together with minimum headache and a minimal destruction of your pocketbook. They have a lineup featuring a few barcode scanners, receipt printers, cash drawers, touch screen monitors, and all-in-one PCs, and they’re always striving to give the customer what they need.

This relationship means they give us a heads up when new products are getting prepped to be unleashed on the teeming POS masses, and they’ve pushed through a pretty solid spec bump to a lot of their products in the past month or two.

I worked in tech support when their Xm90 credit card reader was first being sold, and I gotta tell you, I had more headaches with strange build quality, permanent documentation typos, and inconsistent data transmission, than with any other credit card reader/barcode scanner/player piano I had to support. Thankfully they finally got the Xm95 out in the wild, which feels a lot sturdier, sends data accurately, and is pretty straightforward to configure.

Their Xr500 printer, which has been a solid thermal receipt workhorse for the past 3 years, has been retired and replaced with the Xr510. Mostly changes under the hood, the Xr510 is better, faster, stronger. Right here is where you should make the 6 million dollar man slo-mo jump noise. The 7.9″ per second print speed is about 30% faster than the predecessor, and they’ve managed to cram in heavier duty internals to ensure longer use.

The Xr210 impact printer is a full departure from their Xr200, and actually looks kind of foreboding, at least in our main product pic. POS-X decided that Serial and Parallel weren’t enough, and decided to hook the Xr210 up with USB and Ethernet interface options as well. Excellent, since finding Serial and Parallel ports on new PCs is more difficult than spotting the Yeti on a bottle of Koakanee. It’s there. Believe me.

As for the last update, the Xp8200 pole display takes all the good features in pole displays and ignores the pitfalls and caveats that seem to permeate the market. While the Xp800 couldn’t rotate, the Xp8200’s screen can spin a full 360 degrees. People may not need a 15″ display height, so they made it adjustable. And nobody on the market really provides easily changed command modes (emulations), and so POS-X put the comfigurability of the Xp8000 in overdrive, adding Logic Controls support now. It really is the best pole display I’ve seen on the market.

Over the past month or so, we’ve been hammering out a plan to get a few more people from the company writing about their experiences. I’d like to introduce the newest member of the club, our support manager. He’s been dropping knowledge bombs here for about 4 years, and was actually the person who hired me on to be a tech nerd in the first place.

He’ll be better equipped to explain the ins and outs of his job, but usually he’s fielding the calls that his army of tech nerds can’t handle anymore. The customers who can be heard, over the phone, in the other room. The one who we’re still talking to despite every other word coming out of their mouth being an explitive.

In the coming weeks we’ll be adding in some sales success stories. The ones that really explain why we love what we do, and may help you out if you’re looking into adding data capture or pos hardware to your business but don’t know where to start.

Not too much is going on for big interesting stuff, I may have a post in a couple days about POS-X doing a pretty solid product shakeup or their receipt printer and pos accessory lineup.

One of the manufacturers we carry, Unitech, strives to make low-cost solutions for customers. Their mobile computer line, including the PA500 and PA600, have been tremendous in helping a lot of customers who want to go mobile with inventory management but don’t have the cash to cover a Symbol MC70 or Intermec CN3. It also helps that our market development rep at Unitech is a really great guy who checks in from time to time to make sure we’ve got the resources and literature necessary to sell their products.

At the Denver event where I made 50 bucks, they had the general manufacturer showroom, where we, as VARs, get to see what kind of new equipment is coming out and maybe make new contacts at companies we don’t have a close relationship with yet. It’s basically schmoozing while eating appetizers and drinking beer.

Unitech was at the event, and they actually had a couple completely new products to show off that really are great. The MP200 and MP300 are their 2″  and 3″ mobile receipt printers, and they definitely fill a niche that has long been devoid of competition. What sets them apart from the competition is something they’ve done with the PA500 and PA600. Both units ship with the MP200 and MP300 drivers preinstalled, meaning all you have to do is set up the Bluetooth, IrDA, or serial connection between the two devices and you’re set. This creates an incredibly easy to setup solution for a lot of customers who may be hesitant when it comes to driver installation and configuration, and it definitely gives Unitech something that the competition doesn’t.

Unitech ships the units with everything you need to get set up, just like with their mobile computer line, so there is much less of a headache when making the purchase. I really like the care that Unitech puts into making sure the end user can get up and running quickly and easily.

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