Since technology is becoming increasingly commoditised I guess we shouldn't be surprised when it starts showing up in vending machines (though the iPod dispenser remains odd even 12 months later). This, however, is about as normal as it gets...
Kingston, in conjunction with MyMemory, has unveiled the first mainstream Flash memory vending machine (some exist on Uni campuses – but when have they even been considered 'normal'?). It is also located in about the most logical place for such a device: an airport (Gatwick's North Terminal, to be precise).
Kingston's full range of flash memory offerings will be available in a variety of capacities with security backed up by Chip and PIN transactions.
Ann Keefe, Director of Sales UK & Ireland at Kingston Technology (smiley above), was understandably chipper about the whole thing: “Our consumers are telling us they want greater storage capacity for their mobile phones, digital cameras and USB drives to store music, images, games, videos and personal data," she said. "They want instant access to SD cards and USB drives as they need them 24/7, so vending machines in public spaces were the most obvious solution. We’re delighted to be working with industry leader MyMemory to meet this growing demand.”
MyMemory will be responsible for stocking the vending machines on a daily basis and will monitor sales remotely using new telemetry technology. A memory selector will also be integrated into all vending machines to give customers the confidence they are purchasing the correct memory card for their device.
Should the venture prove a hit – and I can't see why it won't – further Flash memory vending machines will start appearing in other major airports along with mainline train and underground stations. No pricing was given for the vending machine memory but it'll be interesting to see if cutting out the middle man will further reduce prices and if – in that airport – they're duty free ;)
So stay alert over the next 12 months or you could end up pushing a Twix in your digicam or a munching on microSD...