Starbucks is adding a series of wireless charging stations to its stores to make it easier for customers to charge their devices while they knock back Oprah Chai Tea lattes and grilled cheese sandwiches. According to a press release, the coffee chain has begun a national rollout of Powermat Spots, which The Verge notes are "small circles that are seamlessly implanted in tables and counters" that can charge charge devices wirelessly." Powermat president Daniel Schreiber tells The Verge that on average each Starbucks location "should receive 10 or more Powermat Spots."
The press release notes that the rollout will begin at stores in San Francisco and the Bay Area before expanding to other markets in 2015. A full nationwide rollout for all Starbucks and Teavana outlets is planned over time, but an estimated date has not been revealed. There are currently Powermat Spots at "select" Starbucks in Boston and San Jose and pilots for wireless charging are expected to take place at stores in Europe and Asia "within the year."
The Verge points out that while the technology is useful, not everyone's devices are currently compatible with the Powermat Spots. As the technology stands right now, "most people still need to buy a compatible case for their phone before ditching the USB cable that came with it." Schreiber notes that those without compatible phones will also be able to buy a small "inexpensive receiver 'ring'" that plugs into a customer's phone and then allows them to place the device on the mat for charging. There is no information yet as to whether Starbucks plans to sell these small rings to customers directly.
· National Rollout of Wireless Charging [Starbucks]
· Starbucks Starts Rolling Out Wireless Phone Chargers Nationwide [The Verge]
· All Starbucks Coverage on Eater [-E-]