MobileInfocenter

Tests Begin for Handheld Software Vending Machine

EZ ZAP has begun a public test of a kiosk that allows users to buy and download software onto their handhelds. Visitors use a touch screen to select software, then place their handheld on a shelf where the app is downloaded via infrared. The first unit has been placed near the company's headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa. If it is a success, the kiosks will be rolled out nationwide.

An assortment of software is available from the kiosk, including personal finance, travel, fitness, games, e-books and much more. Most of these are free, while others cost from $5 to $30.

The Principal Bank and PalmGear.com are initial sponsors of the service.

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PalmGear where is my money????

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 8:33:08 AM #
So PalmGear it putting money in this thing instead of paying developers??? I haven't received any payment from these guys for the past 6 months !
RE: PalmGear where is my money????
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 9:00:24 AM #
Let's face it, developers are never going to get that money owed by PalmGear. Ventures like these are the reason why PalmGear owes so much to developers. Simply maintaining the top PDA software retail site just wasn't enough for this company. Simply making 25-30% margin on their products wasn't enough. They are trying to build an empire on the developer's nickel.

The ironic thing is that, should PalmGear succeed, they will have even a stronger stranglehold on the retail software channel. You developers are and always have funded the dominance of PalmGear to your own detriment. 50% commissions, here we come.

By the way, does anyone actually thing this will work?

RE: PalmGear where is my money????
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 9:13:05 AM #
Its a great idea I think, PPalmgears treatment of developers not withstanding.

I can see this sort of thing being installed in airports where you download cityguides, local news, local services maps and so on.

Better yet as and when bluetooth takes off you be able to do it just by hanging around an access point.

RE: PalmGear where is my money????
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 11:33:55 AM #
For the record, PalmGear.com is NOT investing $'s, but your software for you to be paid on. This is the President of EZ ZAP, Jeff Freed, and we are not taking a dime from PalmGear.com. We are instead using their site as a source to get the "vending" apps for. Your apps! We are selling them for YOU and PalmGear.com. We are proving the concept not taking money from them. Yes they are a potential investor, but not in $'s at this point.

Jeff Freed
EZ ZAP, Inc.
President and CEO

RE: PalmGear where is my money????
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 11:38:19 AM #
Well, that does it. I'll never buy IAMBIC software from PALMGEAR.

But ... the kiosk idea is good, but will receive limited use. Places I can see a scalled down kiosk are :

Airports - for eBooks, city guides, language translator software, and maybe some games.
Theme Parks - daily schedules, maps, etc.
Trade Shows - ditto on schedules and maps. I hope the Comdex people are listening, and put the show guide out as a searchable app with hot linked maps and a guide to who has the best t-shirts.

RE: PalmGear where is my money????
Ed @ 7/29/2002 11:39:18 AM #
Guys, this doesn't really have anything to do with the software vending machine. Also, this topic was debated ad infinitum last month when PalmGear announced it was changing the way it paid developers:
www.palminfocenter.com/view_Story.asp?ID=3608

If you would like to continue to talk about it, please do so there, or in our Forums:
www.palminfocenter.com/forum/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=19

Thanks!

---
News Editor

RE: PalmGear where is my money????
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 1:05:14 PM #
A little advice to EZ Zap - if PalmGear decides to make an investment in your company, GET CASH! Their unsecured debt apparently isn't worth much.
RE: PalmGear where is my money????
ardiri @ 7/29/2002 1:17:26 PM #
    For the record, PalmGear.com is NOT investing $'s, but your software for you to be paid on. This is the President of EZ ZAP, Jeff Freed, and we are not taking a dime from PalmGear.com. We are instead using their site as a source to get the "vending" apps for. Your apps! We are selling them for YOU and PalmGear.com. We are proving the concept not taking money from them. Yes they are a potential investor, but not in $'s at this point.

small question for you here :)

as a developer who has applications listed on PGHQ as well - will you be paying the developer direct? or, will you be paying PGHQ which will then, in turn pay the developer? if the latter, do you realize that this may incur an extra delay in funds getting to the developers? maybe 1month delay from you to send it to PGHQ, plus another 1month delay (well, thats the agreement) for the payment to be made to the developer.

another issue is the manner in which applications are delivered. it seems to be at first sight that this only works if you have a full version download of your application when you purchase it. what about conduits? manuals? support documents? extra databases? developers that send codes? developers that use their own websites to generate data files? to what extent does your "vending machine" go to?

did you even consider these issues?

// az
aaron@ardiri.com
http://www.ardiri.com/
http://www.mobilewizardry.com/

RE: PalmGear where is my money????
ardiri @ 7/29/2002 1:24:05 PM #
to add to my list above :) heh.. i'd like to say that there are a lot of issues involved with making something like this actually work. jeff, if you come back and read this, and - show some interest in some ideas/problem areas, drop me a line personally via email.

// az
aaron@ardiri.com
http://www.ardiri.com/
http://www.mobilewizardry.com/
RE: PalmGear where is my money????
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/30/2002 9:35:54 PM #
Good points made in above post. But I hope Jeff could respond publicly for the benefit of all of us.
RE: PalmGear where is my money????
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 9:17:45 AM #

We have a varity of apps on our Vending machine. Some are freebies, some demos and some paid full versions. We are featuring 73 apps and only about 10 are full versions that cost money. We are not featuring apps that require conduits such as Quick office. Manuals? This was tricky. A lot of developers are now putting their manuals into the app. This is a tremendous value to us and we took this into consideration. We didn't use any apps that require a code from the developer. Keep an eye on our website for a word to you developers about all the above. We are looking for your comments and will eventually have a forum for you to join to help us form, with you, a way that works for you and for us. We will not be featuring apps that are half done. We want the best.
Thank you,
Jeff Freed
EZ ZAP, Inc
President and CEO

It's not so new

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 8:35:38 AM #
In Tel Aviv there's at least on kiosk like that operating for the last year or so.

Amazing

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 9:31:39 AM #
Similies that come to mind :-
Inflatable dartboard
Chocolate kettle
Catflap in an elephant house
RE: Amazing
Fammy @ 7/29/2002 11:50:03 AM #
Looks like it runs on Palm OS with a monocrome screen. What better way to sell Palm OS software? Green is back!

_____
Fammy
RE: Amazing
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/30/2002 6:20:36 AM #
How about downloading on a PC, oh I see thats already been thought of :-)

Handheld Software Vending Machine

I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 10:18:11 AM #
Great idea for those who don't trust giving their credit card info over the net. It's more interactive, too!!!
RE: Handheld Software Vending Machine
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 12:50:23 PM #
Dumb idea. Last thing I would be doing in an airport or other public place is buying software for my Palm. Just don't have the time to waste. More time to play and easier to buy from home over the net. Also can't see anyone offering software in a kiosk that I have not already seen on the net.
RE: Handheld Software Vending Machine
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 12:57:28 PM #
Good idea for airports for the same reason there a bookstores and newstands there. Alot of people don't plan ahead and don't realize they are about to sit for hours on a plane until they get to the airport. With this kiosk they can buy an ebook or some games to give them something to do on the plane or during the vacation.
RE: Handheld Software Vending Machine
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 12:59:27 PM #
With web distribution of all of the content, and probably lots of consumers also sync to a PC, I can't see this as being a wild success. The approach was also tried for the on the spot manufacturing of Diskettes of PC software and was not successful.
RE: Handheld Software Vending Machine
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 1:06:41 PM #
I agree that the kiosk could be good at airports as an impulse buy of sorts. For example, while waiting, instead of buying a book/magazine or paying to play an arcade game, you could buy a shareware game from a kiosk and play it on your Palm. To boot, you'd get to keep it forever and play it at the gate and on the plane. Of course, this is assuming you didn't think of all this ahead of time and already have the games you wanted installed on your Palm.

Just Tried it out.

dorelse @ 7/29/2002 1:47:53 PM #
Just tried out the kiosk. Not bad, not bad at all. Easy, intuitive, and simple.

They're looking for user feedback, so I answered a couple questions after I used it.

Very very nice. Setting aside the payment problems from PalmGear...its a great and easy solution for novices who don't understand the power that 3rd party apps can give you.

Now, for 'us', its benefit probably isn't that great. Except when we're disconnected or on the go.

I put a couple e-books on my Clie, and a Principal Bank checkbook app to play with.

No problems. I could also see it as a useful app distribution point for a company as well.

RE: Just Tried it out.
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 4:51:43 PM #
Thank you for your comments. Glad to hear that someone that used this machine is a part of this forum. We have worked very hard to make it ez.

Jeff Freed
EZ ZAP, Inc.
President & CEO

RE: Just Tried it out.
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 9:48:07 PM #
People like those of us who read this board might use this but no way will your average Plam user bother. Most Palm users NEVER install apps on their Palm even if they get them for free.
RE: Just Tried it out.
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/29/2002 10:27:49 PM #
They may not have installed 3rd-party apps in the past, but walking past a quick way to download and try an app could bring them over.

I think it is an excellent idea that, with proper locations, could do very well.

RE: Just Tried it out.
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/31/2002 12:41:01 AM #
Doesn't Handango already allow app downloads via wired and wireless connections directly to your PDA?
RE: Just Tried it out.
I.M. Anonymous @ 8/27/2002 7:08:54 PM #
yes they do... What about retail stores... why are there not more apps in the stores when buying the hardware?
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