Google Play Vending machines. Photo: AFP
Google Japan has unveiled a novel way of selling games to its mobile customers, via Google Play vending machines.
Each of the machines will offer 18 different popular Android gaming titles, some of which are free and others premium and all that a consumer needs to install the new app on their device is to ensure that it is running at least Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and that it is NFC-enabled. Just touch the app icon on the screen, drop your handset on the NFC-enabled tray and the download is over in a few moments, as is the charge against a Google Play account if it's a paid-for app. And, to help clinch the deal, consumers who are uncertain if the app is really the one they want can try it out on a Nexus 4 handset before tapping their own handset to confirm the transaction.
Though NFC is yet to take off globally in any meaningful fashion as a wireless payments technology, Japan has for years used NFC in its vending machines so that commuters can buy everything from canned coffee to fossilized fish crisps via their phones and to prove their age when using the thousands of machines that scatter each major Japanese city, when purchasing something stronger, such as cigarettes and alcohol.
If you want to give it a go, the first Android vending machine was unveiled Monday in front of the Parco department store in Shibuya, Tokyo and, when officially switched on Tuesday, October 1, will be manned by Google Japan employees to assist first-time users and to make sure that no one runs away with the Nexus 4 app-testing handset. Google has no current plans to roll the machines out globally.