Vending machine spits out Motorola handsets

Motorola is sick of having to sell you a phone in person, so it's enlisted vending machines to do its bidding.

OK, so that's an exaggeration, but you get the idea.

The No. 2 mobile phone manufacturer in the world Wednesday introduced a pilot program in which approximately 20 automated "Instamoto" stores installed in U.S. malls and airports will spit out handsets. Twelve kinds of phones and 18 different accessories will be on offer, according to the AssociatedPress.

The high-end Razr and Q smart phone are among the vending options. Using a credit card and the machine's touch screen, customers can customize a phone according to color and style.

An existing contract with T-Mobile, Verizon or Cingular isn't necessary, but it helps if you plan on using the phone right away. New users can sign up with a carrier later, while existing T-Mobile and Cingular customers need only switch out their data card from their old phone.

Verizon customers will have to call and admit that they've just bought a phone from a vending machine in order to change their service.

About the author

Erica Ogg is a CNET News reporter who covers Apple, HP, Dell, and other PC makers, as well as the consumer electronics industry. She's also one of the hosts of CNET News' Daily Podcast. In her non-work life, she's a history geek, a loyal Dodgers fan, and a mac-and-cheese connoisseur.


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