Starbucks and Duracell detailed plans at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to put Duracell wireless charging mats, known as Powermats, in coffee shops around the country. The mats will be installed directly into Starbucks’ tables, allowing customers to charge comfortably rather than gathering around a single power outlet.
Starbucks and Duracell Team Up
It makes sense that wireless charging pads would eventually find their way into public places like coffee shops and restaurants, but typically the pads usually require the phone to have a special case to work. While the Duracell Powermat does require a physical receiver attached to a phone, “Duracell will loan one of the receivers to anyone who needs to power up” while at a shop featuring Powermats, according to CNET. The receivers plug into an Apple 30-pin, Lightning, or Micro-USB port, so most phones will be covered. There will also be an option to buy a receiver for no more than $10.
The adapters may not be necessary in the coming years, thanks to the Power Matters Alliance (PMA). PMA is the entity that standardizes charging methods for wireless devices and, according to DashBurst, companies like AT&T, Blackberry, HTC, LG, Samsung, and ZTE have signed on with PMA, announcing they will start shipping smartphones with wireless charging technology as early as this year.
An official release date has not yet been announced, as Duracell is still waiting for the green light from Starbucks. Ron Rabinowitz, the CEO of the Duracell Powermat, is confident that it will happen “sooner rather than later,” CNET reports. The company has been testing Powermats in Boston and San Jose, California, where a few Starbucks shops have been outfitted with the Duracell wireless charging mats. The Boston Globe reports that 17 Starbucks shops were chosen for the test in October 2012, and since then testing locations have spread to McDonald’s, Coffee Bean, and Tea Leaf locations in Los Angeles and New York. TheNextWeb reports that the expansion of the testing sites occurred following the Powermat’s initial success in Boston.
While an interesting technology, wireless charging mats haven’t made much of a splash since their invention, but that may be due to the cost and inconvenience of having to buy special attachments or cases to get them to work. But if this problem was taken out of the equation, would you prefer to use a wireless charging pad to charge your phone, or continue using power outlets?
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