Mobile users know the feeling all too well; the desperation that accompanies the last few minutes of a fleeting charge on their smartphone. With capabilities such as music, games, and internet browsing all stemming from a single handheld device, battery life can go from full to nada in just a few hours.
To combat this pesky problem, AT&T is unveiling free phone charging stations in a multitude of New York parks. Each station will contain a microUSB port, as well as iPhone 4 and iPhone 5-compatible plug-ins. USB ports that support several other smartphone manufacturers and models will also make an appearance.
Neil Giacobbi, who helps with AT&T programs for the New York region, added, "We realized charging was the missing ingredient during the day."
According to Cnet, AT&T has decided to go the eco-friendly route, harnessing the sun’s energy to power each of the stations. An extensive battery system means that once fully charged, the unit can support continuous phone charging for up to four days. To complete the project, AT&T worked alongside Pensa to design the tall structure, and Goal Zero to supply the necessary solar technology. Each station stands 10 feet tall, with three long solar panels extending out from its top, closely resembling the branches on a tree.
Not only does a solar-powered system offers numerous environmental advantages, but it also allows AT&T to quickly pick-up and move each station. Without any external wires getting in the way, the company intends to test the charging units in a variety of different locations.
Currently, 25 AT&T stations have setup shop in the New York area. Following a one year trial of the program, the company will revaluate the situation and then decide whether a system expansion is necessary. The long-term plan is to eventually bring this initiative to other major cities.