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Cashless drinks vending with Virgin

Thirsty callers pay by phone

Virgin unveiled the first vending machine that talks to the world by mobile phone at consumer electronics show Live 2000 last week.

The machine allows you to buy a can of Virgin Cola by dialling a number unique to the drinks machine, and the value of the drink is charged to your phone bill.

Although there is a similar device at Helsinki airport in mobile-mad Finland, this is the first time one has been shown in the UK.

Virgin says the ‘dial and drink’ technology has a number of other applications including selling videos and CD’s in suitable areas.

This was one of a number of connected devices on display at this year’s Live 2000 show.

New mobile phones on show you can use to buy those soft drinks included Sony’s CMD-J5 and Ericsson’s R380, which has a flip down keypad revealing a larger screen for easier WAP surfing.

Networked devices were the big theme at Live 2000. Sony showed off its Network Walkman, a tiny digital music player that will be used to distribute secure music from the internet.

Also, Sharp revealed the somewhat esoteric Internet Microwave that can store and display recipes. However, the Internet Microwave is something of a misnomer, as you need a computer to do the downloading, to which the microwave can connect.

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