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Starbucks to Offer Wireless Charging Stations


Because let's face it, nothing helps to start your day like a caffinated drink and a charged phone.

Soon, while you get your jolt of caffeine, your phone can recharge as well.

Starbucks announced Thursday it will make Powermat's wireless charging stations available in its Starbucks and Teavana shops. The deployment will begin in the San Francisco Bay Area this year and expand to other metropolitan areas after a test run.

A Powermat station at Starbucks (Image via CNET). A Powermat station at Starbucks (Image via CNET).

"2014 will be focused mainly on the west coast, but 2015 will see expansions to major metropolises across the United States," Daniel Schreiber, Powermat President, said. On average, each store should receive 10 or more Powermat Spots.

Tech experts consider the decision a victory for Powermat and the Power Matters Alliance, which remains embroiled in a standards war with the Wireless Power Consortium, purveyor of the Qi charging standard. The coffee chain's early decision to supply Wi-Fi was instrumental in the adoption of that technology more than a decade ago, and Powermat Technologies is convinced history will repeat itself.

According to The Verge, Qi's technology for wireless charging has been embedded into the design of far more smartphones, including the new LG G3, Nexus 5 and numerous Nokia devices. To use PMA's wireless charging solution most people still need to buy a compatible case for their phone.

But Schreiber suggested the tide is turning.

"Devices will come out with compatible technology, and we'll see an industry that's been hamstrung a bit with standards issues and conflicting implementations coalesce a common ground," Schreiber said.

In English, that means if you don't own a supported device, you'll be able to purchase a tiny, reasonably-priced receiver "ring" that plugs into your phone and lets you place it on the Starbucks' pads to recharge.

Consumers can also buy PMA-compatible back covers for some Samsung smartphones that enable Powermat charging, and Apple — which hasn't officially picked a side in Qi versus PMA recharging battle — sells a Duracell Powermat iPhone case at its retail stores.

After a small pilot run this year with the "Powermat Spots" — small circles that are seamlessly implanted in tables and counters — the larger rollout will kick off within Starbucks and Teavana locations in 2015. Eventually the charging stations will make their way to the company's coffee and tea shops nationwide.


(H/T: The Verge)

Follow Elizabeth Kreft (@elizabethakreft) on Twitter. 

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