Many new smartphones that are hitting the market are being launched with wireless charging as a feature, and while the technology is still in its infancy, Starbucks have decided to embrace the new technology. In a report released today, June 12 2014, Starbucks have decided to become the first major retailer to implement wireless charging stations in its stores nationwide. After spending the last two years testing wireless stations in stores located in Boston and San Francisco, Starbucks have decided to roll-out the stations nationwide.
Thanks to a deal that has been struck with Powermat, Starbucks customers across the U.S will soon be able to give themselves a quick energy jolt with a cup of their favorite coffee, while also being able to give their smartphones, or tablets that have wireless charging capabilities a jolt too.
The plan for Starbucks is to roll-out the charging stations in all of their stores in San Francisco before the end of this year, and then to the rest of the stores in the U.S next year. The wireless charging stations will be provided by a company called Powermat. Powermat is a company that is based out of Israel, and they were perhaps one of the first companies to the market with wireless charging technology a few years ago. Powermat is hoping that their partnership with Starbucks will really push the technology into the mainstream market.
While many new phones have wireless charging built-in, there are still phones that do not have such capabilities, but thanks to special cases that have the wireless charging technology embedded into them, consumers will be able to buy a Powermat case to use (a $30 expense) at their local Starbucks, at home, or anywhere that has access to Powermat's charging pads. To charge the phone all you would have to do is set the device on to the charging mat, and while you sip on your cappuccino, your phone will automatically charge.
One of the big problems for Powermat is the fact there is no industry standard for wireless charging yet, and several other companies have developed their own wireless charging technology. Powermat is part of the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) which was founded by Powermat and Duracell three years ago. The PMA has over 100 members right now including Sony, Samsung, and Toshiba, but they have been going head to head with rival wireless charging group, the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and it's wireless Qi standard. The WPC are supported by Google, LG, and Nokia, to name a few.
There's a lot riding on this deal with Starbucks for Powermat, and they are hoping that by getting into thousands of Starbucks locations, their standard will become the industry leader. As for Starbucks and their hopes, well they just want another reason for smartphone-loving coffee drinkers to walk into their stores.
Source: Duracell, Powermat