17 Starbucks stores get wireless charging in Boston

The wireless charging pilot uses Duracell's Powermat technology and runs through early '13

Boston-area Starbucks stores are the first in the nation to take part in a pilot program of Duracell's Powermat wireless charging technology.

Seventeen stores in Boston and neighboring Cambridge are included in the wireless charging trial, according to Starbucks spokesperson Linda Mills.

Along with the pilot, Starbucks announced today that it joined AT&T and Google as members of the Power Matters Alliance (PMA), an industry organization working on standards for wireless charging.

wireless charging
Phones charging at a Starbucks counter (Source: Duracell Powermat)

"We are always looking for ways to help our customers recharge, both literally and figuratively," said Adam Brotman, chief digital officer of Starbucks. "Wireless charging is not only the most convenient and simple way to recharge a mobile device, but it's environmentally friendly - so it makes perfect sense for us to be working with the PMA to create a universal standard for wireless charging."

The Duracell Powermat wireless charging technology is being built into some of the tables, which will eliminate the need for mobile devices that are configured for wireless charging to have to plug into wall outlets for power.

Each store will have roughly eight charging stations that will remain up through the holidays and into early 2013.

Duracell's Powermat technology uses inductive magnetic wireless charging technology, which means a mobile device must come in contact with the charging surface. BY contrast, magnetic resonance charging allows devices to receive AC current at a distance ranging from a couple of inches up to several feet, depending on the specifications being used in the technology.

In September, the Nokia 920 became the first commercially available smart phone to offer built-in wireless charging capabilities.

Wireless charging technology requires that devices receiving the power use special widgets (adapters) that can be plugged into the mini-USB port of a smartphone in order to charge from a magnetic induction power pad. Starbucks said it will provide a limited number of adapters for customers to borrow.

Three stores are offering wireless charging as of today. They are located at One Financial Center, 125 Summer Street, and 101 Federal Street in Boston.

wireless charging
A Samsung Galaxy S III phone charging at a Boston Starbucks (source: Duracell Powermat)

Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at  @lucasmearian or subscribe to Lucas's RSS feed . His e-mail address is lmearian@computerworld.com.

See more by Lucas Mearian on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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