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Welcome our phone-dispensing robot overlords

Chris Ziegler

Say you're zoning out in SFO (that's San Francisco International Airport for the lay folk), waiting for a connecting flight, and you start to daydream about that Motorola PEBL you've had your eye on for the past few months. Wouldn't it be great if you could get the phone, like, right now, all without having to interact with a human being? Motorola has started pilot testing of its "INSTANTMOTO" automated kiosks in SFO and Macy's flagship State Street store in downtown Chicago (pictured above), offering a variety of phones -- both the unlocked and carrier-locked varieties -- and all manner of accessories. The pilot program will be expanded to a total of about 20 airport and mall locations by year's end; we're guessing it feels a little weird to feed a vending machine with a couple hundred singles, but fortunately, the vend-bot happily takes plastic.

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