Starbucks to roll wireless charging mats out to all US stores
By Nick Lavars
June 12, 2014
You might already be used to dropping into Starbucks to recharge your batteries, but now the ubiquitous caffeine merchant is looking to power more than just your mental energy. Today it announced plans to install wireless charging mats in every one of its US stores, meaning searching under tables and chairs for that elusive power outlet could become a thing of the past.
Beginning in the San Francisco Bay Area, Starbucks will fit its stores with Duracell PowerMats, enabling customers to recharge their devices without using a power cable. A nationwide rollout will follow throughout 2015, with the company's Teavan Fine Teas + Tea Bars stores to also benefit from the wireless charging technology.
Starbucks first began testing PowerMats in its stores in 2012, installing the pads throughout 17 coffee shops in Boston. As many smartphones are not equipped with wireless charging capabilities out-of-the-box, some customers would be required to fit compatible cases to their devices to make use of the technology, a process that has apparently not proven too big of an obstacle.
"We were pleased with the customer response to the pilot tests," said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer at Starbucks. "We’re now expanding this offering nationally to provide our customers a quality and reliable experience as they use our stores as their respite, their office away from home or as a gathering place with their friends and family."
Duracell offers PowerMat compatible cases for popular smart phones, such as the iPhone 5, 5S, 4 and 4S, along with the Samsung Galaxy S III. A PowerMat won't provide enough juice to recharge a laptop, but its nationwide adoption gives every indication Starbucks is looking to build on its appeal with hyper-connected coffee aficionados.
The company expects to begin similar rollouts in Europe and Asia within a year.