Motorola Testing Vending Machines

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Taking a cue from Sony and Macy's, Motorola will test the sale of its products through vending machines in a 20-location pilot program beginning this fall.

The 30-square-foot vending machines, or “small format robotic stores,” are owned, operated, serviced and stocked by Zoom Systems, a San Francisco-based company that is performing similar tests in airports and shopping malls with small electronics and software by Sony, and in Macy's department stores with Apple iPods and accessories.

The Motorola machines will be branded Instantmoto and will carry about 25 SKUs including Razr handsets, Bluetooth-enabled headsets, cordless phones, car chargers and other mobile accessories. The companies have already installed units in San Francisco International Airport and Macy's State Street store in San Francisco, and plan to roll the machines out to additional high-traffic locations including airports and shopping malls around the country by November.

“Continuing our effort to reinvent mobile retail culture and transform the consumer experience, this on-demand retail solution is an interesting approach to the many extensions of our retail strategy,” said Jason Few, Motorola's corporate VP, global retail. “This pilot program is an opportunity to bring never-seen-before convenience to consumers who are looking for ways to make life easier.”

Zoom, which also maintains its own non-branded CE vending machines, says it plans to place thousands of the robotic stores nationwide.

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