At my company we're developing a web-based POS (Point of Sale) system software. It is intended for being accessed through a traditional desktop computer, a POS touch-screen computer or a handheld device (a tablet or a big smartphone).

At some points in the interface the user may be presented with information about other users that are currently accessing the system. A common piece of information about another user is the type of device he is using, and here we only need to make a distinction between handheld and not handheld devices.

I would like to know if there exists a word that specifically designates "not handheld" devices of any kind or, if such word doesn't exist, what would be an appropriate expression. The expression should be such that users readily understand that it can refer to both a traditional desktop (with a non-touch screen, a keyboard and a mouse) or a POS computer. At the moment I'm just using "Desktop" but I think that some or most users would think that a POS computer is not a desktop.

Any thoughts on this?

5 Answers 5


Better way for distinguishing would be using different set of image/icon to represent whether user is using desktop or handheld device. Similar to facebook app which shows whether user is login from desktop/web or phone device.

  • That's a great idea! I think we will still need some text for consistency with the other fields, but an icon will help.
    – abl
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 17:19
  • @abl your welcome !
    – nikhil84
    Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 4:18

If your use case is POS, what terms apply to that context?

In my past the terms were cash wrap and on the floor. You could also use 'counter' vs 'mobile'. It gets tricky when you may have one device (a tablet) that can be docked at the cash wrap or carried around the store.

  • That's a good idea, but the problem with that is that different clients may use different terms, especially if they work in different areas (e.g. retail shops vs. restaurants). If we use business terms in this part of the interface, what is ok for a client may be weird for another.
    – abl
    Commented Jan 10, 2015 at 17:26
  • That's true. So how do you handle the multi-use device environments I mentioned: Tablet as the only device, behind the counter or on the floor? Commented Jan 12, 2015 at 19:31

I'm quite surprised no one has suggested Stationary Vs Mobile.


Not moving or not intended to be moved



An antonym of handheld is a tricky one. Non-handheld seems to be quite popular, and widespread. Not particularly elegant though, admittedly. Non-portable, or non-mobile, would also fall into this category.

How about office-based or desk-based (a synonym of your desktop, but without the usual desktop [PC] connotation)..? I've heard both terms in lectures and sales-speak.

Static device is also a better, more elegant, option.

  • As long as you put both terms next to each other, mobile and desktop should work fine despite any connotations the terms may have if used standalone.
    – CodeManX
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 16:18

How would "non-portable" sound?

  • So a laptop is non-portable?
    – JonW
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 8:57
  • Good point ! I guess there isn't really a clean line between mobile and non mobile devices.
    – PhillipW
    Commented Jan 9, 2015 at 9:51

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