If Japan ever decides to ditch the “Rising Sun” bit, “Land of the Awesome Vending Machines” would be an apt second slogan. A multitude of useful, weird and wacky vending machines litter the landscapes of the country’s major cities, offering up goodies ranging from exotic drinks to delicious noodles and heck, even space gold and hotel rooms (as shown by Tom Edwards in his
24 hour vending machine survival stint in the heart of Tokyo
). Now, those ubiquitous Japanese vending machines are getting even more useful, as one company plans on rolling out units that double as free Wi-Fi hotspots in 2012.
pointed us towards
a recent press release by Asahi Soft Drinks
, the maker of the Wi-Fi vending machines. Anyone with roughly 160 ft. will be able to tap into the Wi-Fi hotspot – no purchase necessary, no registration needed. Can’t top that! Users will get 30 minutes of free browsing before they get das boot, but they can reconnect immediately if they so desire. Dozens of users can be connected at once. Once logged in, a welcome screen will display the contents of the Wi-Fi-sharing vending machine, along with the names and locations of local stores and interesting places. You also get that free high-speed Internet connection, though we’d recommend not doing any online banking or sensitive browsing through the open connection.
Asahi expects to have 1,000 of this nifty vending machines deployed across five major Japanese cities by the end of 2012. They want to expand that number to 10,000 installed units within five years. Hopefully they decide to bring some of those Stateside!