At Retail Solutions 2005 (7th - 9th June, NEC, Birmingham) leading POS solutions manufacturer, Star Micronics, unveiled to the UK market a new generation of communicating visual card systems, specifically for the loyalty, membership, electronic purse and security/ID sectors as well as some specialist ticketing applications, such as re-usable airline tickets and boarding passes.

Called the TCP400, the new generation of visual card systems have been designed to utilise a credit-card style of re-writable card, from 0.06 to 0.84 microns thick. Developed to be re-written to up to 500 times, the TCP400s cards can also be updated with sophisticated graphics as well as text within just a few seconds. The TCP400 is supplied with a USB interface as standard, but is also available with a RS232C serial alternative, if required. A wireless version is planned for the latter part of 2005.

Annette Tarlton, marketing manager EMEA for Star Micronics, commented on the new introduction, This generation of visual cards provides us with access into a multitude of different market sectors, given its unrivalled application and design versatility. Offering card issuers the ability to communicate updated messages directly to card carriers at POS has secured Star Micronics considerable presence in the card system market and this latest solution will underscore our leading position.

An integral feature, the TCP400 will be available with a LinuxTM and WindowsTM based S.D.K. to afford simple, cost-effective installation in OS, 98, ME, NT, 2000 and XP operating platforms. Available in either packaged or OEM mechanism formats, the compact (119mm width x 270mm depth x 132.5mm height) TCP400 has been developed with a clamshell design to allow for easy mechanism access and maintenance, and features an indicator alerting operators when to clean the writing heads to allow for highest resolution print outs.

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