Surf the Net or catch up with latest news - Jun 19, 2007 (ST)

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The Straits Times / The Business Times News On SPH

Surf the Net or catch up with latest news

By Lee Xin En
Jun 19, 2007
The Straits Times

THE news-stand of the future has arrived and it is called a buzz pod.

NEWS-STAND OF THE FUTURE: In addition to selling newspapers and tidbits, the buzz pods will sell Wi-Fi devices, and users can make free calls in the vicinity. Photo/ NG SOR LUAN

Unlike traditional news-stands which sell newspapers, magazines and tidbits, these buzz pods have all these items and more.

They will sell handheld Wi-Fi devices and even allow surfing of the Internet.

Singapore Press Holdings (SPH), in partnership with SBS Transit, opened eight such newsstands yesterday, sited mostly in heartland malls and bus interchanges.

The Wi-Fi devices to be sold at buzz pods, offered by iCell, will come in two months.

The buzz pods will also be where one can catch up with the latest news, the headlines of which will be in a digital display.

Each buzz pod is also installed with a Pacific Internet web-station, at which users - even those without Wi-Fi devices on hand - can surf the Internet.

The webstation will also allow Net-savvy Singaporeans to pay their bills and top up their prepaid phone and gaming accounts such as Habbo Hotel and Pirate King Online.

On top of all that, users can make free phone calls in the vicinity of the buzz pods while waiting for their bus to arrive.

Storekeeper Sulaiman Ahmad, 23, one of the first users of the buzz pod at Boon Lay bus interchange, signed up for an iCell account on the spot.

He said he would probably use the webstation at least three times a week to get information online.

SPH expects to build 25 buzz pods by year's end. The eight now in operation are at Sun Plaza, Tampines Mall, SingPost headquarters, Hougang Mall, Toa Payoh HDB Hub, and at Eunos, Tampines and Boon Lay bus interchanges.