Starbucks is rolling out wireless charging stations in its coffee shops nationwide, starting with the Bay Area.
“Stores will be equipped with ‘Powermat Spots’ — designated areas on tables and counters where customers can place their compatible device and charge wirelessly,” the chain said in a statement.
The charging stations come from Duracell Powermat, a joint venture between Procter & Gamble’s Duracell brand and Powermat Technologies.
“Every smartphone and tablet on the market will be able to be charged,” Ran Poliakine, chief executive of Powermat Technologies, told the Los Angeles Times.
However, it’s generally not quite as simple as placing a phone with a depleted battery onto the charging station: The technology isn’t baked into most mobile devices.
To get around that issue, users can plug a small Powermat accessory called the Ring into their device’s charging port and place the Ring onto the charging station. Another option is to use a compatible charging case — Powermat sells them for the iPhone 4, 4S, 5 and 5S and the Samsung Galaxy S3 — or portable battery.
“Over time, we expect that these features will be embedded in the device,” Poliakine said.
The capability to charge laptops does not yet exist, but Poliakine said it is on the horizon.
The Powermat charging stations comply with the standard set by the Power Matters Alliance industry group, rather than the rival Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi standard.
The charging stations can already be found at select Starbucks stores in San Jose and Boston, where a pilot program was held. The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf chain has a similar Powermat pilot program with five locations in the Los Angeles area.
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