You can get lots of things from vending machines in Japan: tea, snack foods, beer, and now Android Apps. Capitalizing on the popular Japanese method for getting just about anything, Google has released a series of Play Store vending machines. The Play Store vending machines are tipped to offer apps and games via NFC, rather than a download.
The monstrous machines won’t house any devices, though, so you won’t be able to pick up a Chromebook or Nexus device from the machines. Instead, you can browse a variety of apps, and use your NFC enabled device to quickly load your selection. For those without an NFC enabled Android phone (really?), Google will have a Nexus device on-hand. You can try the app out, decide if it’s for you, then load it the old fashioned way.
Using the machine is pretty simple, too: you set your phone on a tray (which pairs to your device using NFC), select your app, and the machine just loads for you. There are just shy of 20 apps available via vending machine right now, so don’t get too excited just yet. Google expects more apps to come in short order, as this program is just beginning. In addition to NFC, you’ll also need a device running Android 4.0 or higher.
If you’re interested in checking them out, they’ll be outside the Parco store in Shibuya from tomorrow on. Two Google employees will be on-hand to guide you through the process, if you have issues, or lend you a Nexus 4 to check out apps on. The program is exclusive to Japan for now, but could spread if proven successful.