Detailed on Boston.com earlier today, the Seattle-based coffee giant Starbucks is launching a pilot program that will install wireless charging stations at seventeen franchise locations around the city of Boston. Partnering with Duracell, Starbucks management is utilizing inductive charging technology and installing large Duracell Powermats within the tables at retail stores. In order to take advantage of wireless charging, customers will either need to purchase a Power Matters Alliance (PMA) compatible wireless power case or borrow a loaner case from a Starbucks employee. Duracell currently makes PMA-compatible cases for the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S as well as the Samsung Galaxy S III Android smartphone.
When asked about the new technology rolling out at Boston locations, Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman stated “We’re building the Powermat technology into some of the tabletops, just to get a sense for how our customers will react, compared to having to plug their mobile devices into the wall. A few weeks into the test, we’ll do some in-store giveaways, and we will have some behind the counter available to loan out.”
Starbucks plans to roll out a minimum of eight Powermats per store in order to gauge customer demand and the first stores to receive the upgrades are located within Boston’s financial district. As more people start using the wireless charging stations instead of the power outlets within each store, it’s likely that it will free up charging space for customers with laptops or other devices.
AT&T has also started to sell PMA-compatible cases and Delta airlines has started installing wireless charging spots around gates at major airports within the United States. Earlier this year, General Motors announced that the company would be adding a PMA-compatible powermat station into Cadillac, Chevrolet, and Buick automobiles. In addition, popular venue Madison Square Gardens in New York City has added hundreds of wireless charging locations as a service to visitors.