Starbucks to bring wireless charging stations to Silicon Valley cafes

Starbucks is now offering more than caffeine to recharge your battery. Now your smartphone battery can get a boost, too, at new wireless charging stations.

The coffee retail giant will add wireless charging stations to about select stores in the Silicon Valley, giving latte-sipping customers a way to charge their iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphones while they linger chatting or work on their laptops. Starbucks has long been more than a coffee stop — it’s a go-to destination for student study sessions and business meetings, and as a remote office for professionals.

“For some, it’s their home office, for others it’s their place to get away and have some time to themselves,” Adam Brotman, chief digital officer of Starbucks, said in a news release. “More and more customers are using Starbucks as their home base and they are looking to recharge in a number of ways.”

But many Starbucks lack outlets for plugging in phones. And with a dead phone, few customers will rest easy, likely bolting from the coffee shop to the nearest phone charger.

Starbucks will add the Duracell Powermat, an accessory that uses wireless technology to charge phones and tablets, to 10 Silicon Valley stores next month, following several months of testing at 17 Boston-area stores. The Duracell Powermat charging stations will be placed on tables and counters, available to customers who need to top off their phones.

In theory, customers with a wireless charging smartphone or tablet can simply put their device down on a table to charge. However, there are at least three different competing standards for wireless charging, and each device won’t work with all standards. For both the Boston and San Jose tests, Starbucks is using technology compatible with the Power Matters Alliance.

The Power Matters Alliance is emerging as one of the more popular standards for wireless charging. AT&T recently announced that many of its smartphones have this type of technology starting next year, and Blackberry, HTC, LG, Samsung, ZTE and others have also signaled they will make wireless power devices compatible with the PMA.

Starbucks isn’t the first retailer to roll out wireless charging stations — McDonalds has installed charging spots in seven New York City locations, and Delta airlines installed charging locations in lounges and gates at some airports. Madison Square Garden, Barclays Center and Jay Z’s night club in New York are also installing wireless charging spots. Even some GM cars now offer wireless charging.

Photo provided by Duracell Powermat


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