Tired of searching for outlets to charge your devices at Starbucks? You may be in luck! The company has announced that it will roll out wireless charging stations in stores across the U.S. The decision comes two years after a successful trial of the technology in Boston and the Bay Area. The coffee shop giant will partner with Powermat, an offshoot of Duracell and subsidiary of Proctor & Gamble, to install the technology. Starbucks patrons across the nation will soon see “Powermat Spots”–small circles implanted in tables and counters–at their favorite location. Because most devices still aren’t compatible with wireless chargers, utilizing the spots will require purchase of a fairly inexpensive adapter ring. Meet us after the jump to learn more about what this announcement means for Starbucks, and the wireless charging industry in general.
Apparently Starbucks customers in California will be the first to benefit from the expanded project, with each store receiving about 10 of the wireless charging spots. “2014 will be focused mainly on the west coast, but 2015 will see expansions to major metropolises across the United States,” said Powermat President Daniel Schreiber in an interview with The Verge.
The partnership is a huge boost for the Power Matters Alliance, currently at odds with the Wireless Power Consortium, which endorses the Qi charging standard. “The Starbucks program uses Duracell Powermats, which use PMA so it’s a serious win for that standard—and could, perhaps, be enough to finally make it mainstream,” points out Gizmodo.
And what does Starbucks stand to gain from this new offering? In the past, the chain has made headlines for blocking outlets and taking other actions to discourage people from treating its coffee shops like their own personal office. So why encourage people with fancy new charging stations? Some suspect that Starbucks has plans to sell the adapter rings that most devices will need to utilize the stations. If true, it could be a very profitable move. At least until the tech industry decides to make compatibility standard.