The iPhone 5 will be available in stores this Friday, September 21. Early demand for the phone was high and there are already rumors circulating that Apple has sold out of the initial allotment of iPhones. This could be good news for ecoATM, a San Diego-based startup that allows consumers to turn their old mobile phone into cash by using a fully automated kiosk. ecoATM is ramping up for the iPhone 5 release and will have 300 kiosks installed across the country by the end of the year.


"There are going to be millions of people buying the new iPhone 5. When they do, we want there to be an ecoATM nearby for them to cash in or recycle their old phones," said Tom Tullie, Chairman and CEO of ecoATM. "With ecoATM, you don't have to ship your phone off or wait to get a check in the mail--we pay cash on the spot. Our ecoATM kiosks recognize thousands of different devices and we take them in any condition, even if they're broken or don't work. Plus we pay more on average than any of the mail-in options—up to $250 for some phones. That's enough to pay for your new iPhone 5." Source: ecoATM


The kiosks are really quite an amazing feat of technology. Consumers simply place their mobile device into an ecoATM kiosk. The artificial intelligence then gets to work, identifying the type of device as well determining if there are any obvious defects. The technology can differentiate between a phone with cracked glass and a phone that has a broken display or bleeding pixels.


After identifying the device, the appropriate connector is chosen and delivered robotically. The device is then connected to the ecoATM network and the system is able to scour through a real-time, pre-auction system to determine the value of the product.


If consumers don’t approve of the value, the process is cancelled and they can retrieve their phone. If the consumer is happy with the offer of compensation, she can choose to receive payment on the spot or donate the compensation to one of several charities.


Whether you’re in the market for a new iPhone 5 or just looking to safely dispose of your old cell phone, find an ecoATM in your area and turn an old device into a few extra dollars.


Photo: ecoATM

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