It has been reported today that Vodafone, the British mobile phone company, will begin distributing vending machines to sell phones. The "Quickphone" vendors were created because "more people know what they want from a phone and want to buy it when it suits them," said Vodaphone's UK division's head Tom Devine.
In a related story, Zoom Systems has already created a vending system for airports that sells everything from digital cameras to iPods. There are only two centers as of yet, at Hartfield-Jackson int'l in Atlanta, and at San Francisco int'l. Because of the popularity, the company plans to expand the number of distributed machines from two to ten thousand by 2007, at least in airports, according to Engadget.
Even in airports like my own Detroit Metro and Minneapolis-St. Paul, companies are introducing DVD player and movie rentals, the idea being that you watch a movie during a long wait between flights, then return the kiosk's property.
In Japan, vending machines selling everything from SD Cards and Memory Sticks to eBooks and Manga. But, they've also introduced (get ready for this) lobster vending machines, certainly a far cry from the street vendors of days past.
Convenience aside, an obvious concern is security against theft. With higher-value items for sale, it is becoming increasingly important for the vendors of such machines to protect their products.