Japanese vending machines now blasting out free Wi-Fi

In Japan, one can buy almost anything from a vending machine. Fresh chicken eggs? Sure. Hamburgers? You can have that too. Now, Japanese citizens can stand around and get free Wi-Fi from them too.

Asahi Soft Drinks announced that starting in 2012 about 1,000 soft drink vending machines will be equipped with Wi-Fi routers that let citizens log on to the Internet for 30 minutes from a range of about 164 feet — for free — no purchase necessary. After those 30 minutes are up, you'll have to reconnect.

Think of it like the free Wi-Fi you can find in McDonalds or Starbucks without any strings attached. The plan is to upgrade over 10,000 vending machines with the free Wi-Fi within the next five years.

But what's the benefit for Asahi Soft Drinks? Obviously for people to hang around the machines long enough to buy a drink(s).

That's great. Next time you're in Japan and you see a bunch of schoolgirls huddled around a vending machine, it might not be for the release of some fancy new beverage, but people hopping on the World Wide Web.

Asahi Soft Drinks (Japanese), via Pocket-lint and TechCrunch

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