That's why they bought the robotics maker Kiva Systems, and that's why they invested in delivery boxes, so when I learned today that Amazon's retail footprint now included a vending machine spotted in McCarran Airport I was not at all surprised.
If you should happen to be flying through Las Vegas and in the mood for some uber-geeky sight-seeing, stop by Terminal C. That is where you will see this:
If you should think that vending machine looks familiar, your eyes aren't tricking you. I think it bears a striking resemblance to the vending machines which were said to be part of the Amazon booth which popped up last month. I only had a single poor quality image to post last month, but I thought the general design was the same.
Geekwire was the first to notice the vending machine in Las Vegas, and they report that they were the second to buy from it (a Kindle power adapter). The machine stocked Kindle ebook readers and tablets as well as accessories, including the Kindle Fire HDX 8.9. While it might surprise you that someone could buy a $380 tablet from a vending machine, it's not the most expensive item I've seen. best buy has similar vending machines in airports and they sell iPads.
According to Geekwire Amazon’s vending machine is operated by Zoom Systems, a company which makes similar vending machines for Media Markt, Reebok, Best Buy and other retailers. This is just one of the vending machines that Amazon has been installing in malls airports, and other locations across the US. They also reported that the shopping experience was not without issues; the machine hung once or twice before finally dispensing their purchase and printing a receipt.
It didn't, unfortunately, offer to let them enter an email so the sale could be associated with an account, and that is a pity. It would be nice if this machine were capable of vending Kindles and then attaching them to an account; the new user would be able to get them up and running that much faster. It also wouldn't be a bad idea if the machine offered a Kindle-only Wifi hotspot so customers could register new devices and download content.
P.S. Does anyone want to start a betting pool on when Amazon will buy Zoom Systems?