The British-born executive was addressing the Midem Music expo in Cannes. Stephenson said the best candidates for these digital dispensers - he called them "filling stations" - were retail chains that already play host to Wi-Fi hotspots, and named Starbucks and McDonalds.
We first wrote about the idea here. Pioneer Qwikker (formerly WideRay) set out providing infra red data dispensers at conferences at the turn of the decade, and now provides terminals for 700 hotspots, most of which beam over Bluetooth and target phones, rather than PDAs. London Underground plays host to over a dozen such "proximity servers" on the Tube.
Two years ago, Nokia blessed the concept, even ripping off Qwikker's name "Service Point". But Nokia's offering suffered the same fate as so many other good products from the Finnish phone giant, and died a death. Nokia has been talking about the creepy sounding "M2M", or "machine to machine" commerce for much of the noughties, without putting a successful product on the market.
Stephenson said Microsoft was looking for more ways for Zune users to "cache and download on the go".