On Thursday, after a two-city trial last year, US-based coffee company, Starbucks announced that it is adding wireless charging mats for customers phones in its coffee house across 13,000 U.S locations. The service will go live in 2015. Also, Starbucks has partnered with real life power solutions, Duracell Powermat for technology purpose.
According to the Press Release, “Stores will be equipped with ‘Powermat Spots’ – designated areas on tables and counters where customers can place their compatible device and charge wirelessly. Select Starbucks stores in Boston and San Jose offer Powermat today and the broader rollout can be tracked at www.powermat.com/locations.”
iamWire Take: Considering the global reach of both Starbucks and Duracell, Wireless phone charging is going to catch up first among smartphone consumers. However, in the absence of a universal standard for Wireless Charging, not all phones will be compatible with Powermat. Apple iPhone 6 is expected to launch with Wireless Charging capabilities, and Samsung invested in a company in this field, that’s another sign of this trend growing up.
GigaOm says: Very few phones that come with wireless charging capabilities are compatible with Powermat, which is part of the Power Matters Alliance (PMA). With very few exceptions most phones and tablets that can be charged without wires use the Qi standard, backed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC). That doesn’t mean your phone will need a power outlet at Starbucks, however.
Apple sells cases that add Powermat’s wireless charging technology to the iPhone, for example. Powermat also sells a compatible backplate for the Samsung Galaxy S3. But there are hundreds of phones that aren’t supported natively or through an add-on accessory. Starbucks and Powermat have a solution for that, though.
Small ring-like inserts that can accept a wireless charge and pass it through a phone’s USB or lightning port will be sold, Powermat President Daniel Schreiber told The Verge. So you can plug in one of those so you don’t have to plug in — to an outlet, that is.
More from Press Release: “Powermat Spots in Starbucks are the result of almost a decade of scientific research spanning material sciences, magnetic induction and mesh networking,” said Ran Poliakine, CEO of Powermat Technologies. “The two-pronged power-plug dates back to the era of the horse drawn carriage, so that today’s announcement marks the first meaningful upgrade to the way we access power in well over a century.”
Powermat Spots comply with the open standard set by the PMA – whose members include AT&T, Blackberry, HTC, Huawei, LG, Microsoft, Qualcomm, Samsung, TI and ZTE – resulting in a growing universe of devices and accessories that will charge seamlessly in Starbucks.
“Starbucks is transforming the way consumers get power to their phones, in much the same way it made WiFi a standard amenity in public places. This endeavor is a critical step in Duracell’s vision to make dead battery anxiety a thing of the past,” said Stassi Anastassov, President of Duracell at Procter & Gamble. “When Starbucks introduced WiFi in their stores in 2001, 95 percent of devices didn’t have WiFi, and multiple standards hampered the industry. The rest is history. Starbucks’ plans to offer Powermat nationally is likely to settle any lingering standards questions, and usher wireless power into the mainstream.”
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