Seattle — Customers at Starbucks will soon be able to charge their smartphones while getting their afternoon pick-me-up. The coffee giant announced Thursday that it would begin a nationwide rollout of Duracell Powermat wireless charging stations after the success of a pilot program. The rollout will begin in the Bay Area, with plans to nationwide in 2015. Initial pilots in Europe and Asia are expected within the year.
Stores will be equipped with “Powermat Spots,” which are designated areas on tables and counters where customers can place their compatible device and charge wirelessly.
“From WiFi and the in-store Starbucks Digital Network to mobile payment and digital music downloads, we have always tried to anticipate our customers’ needs early in the adoption curve and provide a world-class solution,” said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer at Starbucks. “We are thrilled to offer our customers that next level of convenience with Powermat wireless charging. We were pleased with the customer response to the pilot tests, and we’re now expanding this offering nationally.”
In some locations, baristas will provide rings that plug into the phone and can charge with the Powermat stations. A similar ring system exists at The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, which, along with McDonalds has Powermats in select locations.
For Duracell, the nationwide rollout is a step in the right direction.
“The two-pronged power-plug dates back to the era of the horse drawn carriage,” Powermat Technologies CEO Ran Poliakine said, adding, “today’s announcement marks the first meaningful upgrade to the way we access power in well over a century.”