The next time your smartphone or tablet runs out of battery, you could just walk into Starbucks and recharge it while you recharge yourself with their caffeine drinks. Starbucks has partnered with Duracell to provide wireless recharging to smartphones that support that technology.
The technology, referred to as Duracell Powermat, enables recharging of phones and tablets by simply placing them on top of the pads. Starbucks is working on installing these pads on its counters and tables. However, currently there are only a handful of smartphones equipped with the technology that supports the charging spots. Most device owner will have to buy a special casing priced between $20 – $30, for them to enjoy the wireless charging. Starbucks believes that the free wireless device recharging is something that their customer will want.
Starbucks, Chief Digital Officer, Adam Brotman, said, “From Wi-Fi and the in-store Starbucks Digital Network to mobile payment and digital music downloads, we have always tried to anticipate our customers’ needs early in the adoption curve.”
Starbucks will begin by installing the wireless recharging technology in its San Francisco stores and later rolling it out to the rest of its stores across U.S.. On the other hand, Duracell hopes that by being visible in the Starbucks stores, it will jumpstart the demand for the Powermat system. The Powermat system was made possible through a joint venture between Duracell, a unit of Procter & Gample (PG) and Powermat Technologies.
Duracell President, Stassi Anastassov, “Starbucks is transforming the way consumers get power to their phones, in much the same way it made Wi-Fi a standard amenity in public places. When Starbucks introduced Wi-Fi in their stores in 2001, 95% of devices didn’t have Wi-Fi, and multiple standards hampered the industry. The rest is history.”
The Powermat system complies with an open standard being used by the Power Matters Alliance; a trade group that included Samsung, AT&T, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Blackberry, Texas Instruments, ZTE, HTC, LG, and Huawei. However, it seems iPhone users will have to make do with a different charging case at least for now, this is because Apple is not part of this group. It has also emerged that the current version of Samsung Galaxy cannot work with the system unless fitted with a special cover, despite Samsung being part of the group.
It is anticipated that with the adoption of this technology by Starbucks will lead to a significant increase in the number of people opting to use wireless recharging. According to Anastassov, “Starbucks plans to offer Powermat nationally is likely to settle any lingering standards question, and usher wireless power into the mainstream.”