Motorola hawking Razrs in vending machines
Caught at the airport on an extended layover and fed up with your lame old cell phone? You're in luck: you'll soon be able to saunter over to a Motorola "InstantMoto" vending machine, whip out your credit card and pick yourself up a gleaming new Razr. That's right: Motorola plans to start selling its cellphones and accessories in vending machines in over 20 malls and airports around the U.S.
The new machines apparently have the support of the major cellular network providers. Explains ArsTechnica:
Cingular, T-Mobile, and Verizon are offering service plans in conjunction with the vending machines...but consumers can also purchase phones sans plan. Cingular and T-Mobile will be able to upgrade...by swapping out the SIM cards from their old phones. Verizon customers will need to call the carrier to have service switched manually, and those who want a new service plan will have to sign up online, negating part of the convenience factor."
First thing to note: the vending machine approach stands in stark contrast to, say, the rich retail experience of the new Nokia store. But the main takeaway is not that different companies are trying different strategies, but rather that these manufacturers and their network allies are simply desperate for market share. Where The Browser lives, there are roughly a thousand cell phone retailers per square mile. One wonders exactly how much profit Motorola will make on its InstantMoto sales, and when exactly will this cellphone sales onslaught subside. And, yes, it must be asked: who, outside of the vending-machine crazy Japanese, would actually buy a cell phone from a vending machine?
Probably the dumbest thing I've heard about all week.
This is the same thing Apple has been doing with the iPod. I saw one of these machines in San Franciso this summer at a Macy's Department store with all of the iPods and the accessories. It is a cool idea, and probably the most expensive vending machines around. Happy to see they are accepting cards, because that would be too many quarters!
After looking at the vending-machine crazy Japanese site, it makes purfect sense. Why do the Japanese have so many vending machines? Because they have a severe population shortage. They have declining population and few immigrants to work in low paid jobs such as selling vegatables. In the US, we would be adopting the same vending machine attitude if we didn't have a huge number of immigrants willing to do these jobs. I guess it goes to show how a country can still survive with less immigration, through technology.
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