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iPod Vending Machines Land at Airports, Hotels

A San Francisco company specializing in automated retail has plans for 10,000 consumer electronics vending machines installed in high-traffic places like airports and hotels in just a few years.

Zoom Systems already has 100 units installed, and Zoom chief executive officer Gower Smith hopes the company's strategy will increase sales of high-end Apple Computer gadgets and other electronics through kiosks.

Currently, the company's self-serve kiosks can be found in places like the Las Vegas Hilton Hotel and the luggage area at San Francisco International Airport. They sell everything from iPods to accessories. Additional units are planned for supermarkets and shopping malls.

Smith believes Zoom will do for retail what ATMs did for banking, because the kiosks can dispense all types of digital toys.

"This e-channel is all about taking the most popular brands and placing them in high-traffic locations in remotely managed stores," he said. "Apple is the hottest product in the digital music category, so iPods and accessories sell very well."

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