Starbucks has combined forces with Duracell in a joint commitment to wireless charging in Starbucks coffee shops across the nation using the battery company’s Powermat technology, reports TechCrunch. Imagine that? No more racing against fellow coffee-guzzlers to claim the last power outlet to recharge your phone or tablet.

Consumers have been dreaming of this prospect since the rumor first broke early this year. The new Powermat-equipped surfaces will be installed in Starbucks and the Starbucks-owned Teavana tea store outlets in the U.S. and abroad. Small black circles on tables and other surfaces will signify where devices can be placed for charging. If a device supports Powermat wireless charging, then the process will begin automatically when the device is laid down.


The caveat to all this free charging is that few devices in the wild actually support Powermat charging, so it won’t be completely free to most. Consumers can buy and replace the back face of their Samsung Galaxy S5, and Apple does offer Duracell-branded, Powermat-compatible iPhone cases that facilitate wireless charging. TechnoBuffalo notes that the tech is already baked into less popular devices: “The PadFone X supports the technology, as does Sprint’s Kyocera Hydro Vibe.”

Powermat vs. Qi: One Standard to Charge Them All

Powermat and Qi are the main wireless charging technologies vying to become the market standard. There are slight differences in how the two products function and the frequency bands they use, but the main differences are visibility, support, and adoption. Powermat has been around for several years and has dozens of pads and wireless-charging cases on the market. The technology is more visible to consumers and can be adopted via accessories and attachments.

Qi has been fighting to be included in more handsets and devices, but the adoption rate has been slow. For consumers and technophiles, Qi is the shiny new tech that is coveted but rarely seen. Powermat already enjoys corporate support from other big names, including McDonald’s, P&G, Dupont, AT&T Mobility, and Powerkiss, a former Qi supporter. Fast food outlets and kitchen counters could be the next place we see Powermat wireless charging solutions.

What do you think about Powermats being placed in Starbucks and other public places? Which charging standard are you cheering for?

Image courtesy of Flickr




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