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Starbucks to trial Powermat wireless charging stations in UK

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Powermat Starbucks

Starbucks patrons in some London branches will soon be able to wirelessly charge their phones and tablets, courtesy of Powermat integration.

The Seattle-based coffee company has announced (via Pocket-Lint) Powermat zones will arrive in ten stores in the capital by the end of January.

With the aid of a ring-like dongle that plugs into their phones, iOS and Android users will be able to place their handsets on the mat and receive a swift battery boost.

Starbucks will loan the dongles to customers at first, but they’ll also be available to buy for £10 a pop.

The Powermat system works on the Qi wireless charging standard so users must have a compatible ring in order for the tech to play nice together.

The 10 locations include Starbucks stores in Great Portaland Street, Pentonville Road, Euston Tower, Harewood Place, Princes Street, Kingsway, Wardour Street, Berkeley Street, Moorgate and Fleet Street. The firm says more locations will be announced in the near future.

The announcement follows Starbucks vow to roll out the wireless charging stations across the United States. In November the firm announced it was bringing the rings to 200 locations in the San Francisco Bay area.

Read more: Apple iPhone 6 review

The arrival in the UK follows a recent move by McDonald's to bring wireless charging stations to its British stores. Powered by Aircharge, the fast food goliath will be bringing 600 stations to 50 of its restaurants.

Is 2015 the year wireless charging finally becomes ubiquitous? Starbucks and McDonalds jumping on board this month seems like a good start.

chaosdefinesorder

January 21, 2015, 10:23 am

I was under the impression that the Powermat format for wireless charging is distinctly NOT compatible with Qi! Unless things have changed recently, representatives of Duracell Powermat have stated in the past that they are not compatible:

"our technology does not currently work using the Qi, sorry. We are a member of the #PowerMattersAlliance which has its own standard" Source: https://twitter.com/NeverPower...

Also this from Engadget when Starbucks USA first started adding Powermat stations: http://www.engadget.com/2014/0...

I couldn't find anything suggesting that Qi and PowerMattersAlliance are now compatible...

(Sorry TR team for external links if that's discouraged)

Rick

January 21, 2015, 1:25 pm

I don't see the point in this!

Why not just provide USB ports for charging and loan or sell cables? Saves having to use a proprietory technology. At least that way I can still USE my phone whilst its charging and not have it sat in the middle of a table where i cant use it properly.
Or just provide a hard wired cable which is fixed at the table end and has either (or both) USB or Lightning at the other.

00blahblahblah00

January 22, 2015, 1:36 pm

Because that would be too convenient for the customer. A USB port make more sense since it is the universal standard that all phones and tablet chargers use. Not only that, the stupid dongle that you have to use plugs into the same port that the normal charging cable does. I think that this is simply a way to control who gets to charge their phones and nothing else. It is even less convenient than a USB port because you would have to go up to the counter with your hat in hand, probably after waiting in line, to ask for a dongle. And what if there aren't any available? If they let people just plug in their USB chargers willy nilly, they wouldn't be able to control who gets that 2 cents worth of electricity, they wouldn't have those people who come in and sit there for 6 hours after buying a single cup of coffee but even worse, they wouldn't sell any $20 dongles. My bet is that if all Starbucks and McDonald's do this, then 90% of customers will charge their devices in their car instead which is what these companies want. The only people who will see the dongle as a sound investment are those that sit there for 6 hours. These restaurants want people to come in and eat but want them to leave immediately after. I once read something about how McDonald's puts in those hard uncomfortable chairs for this very reason.

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