After a successful pilot program in Boston, Starbucks has announced plans to expand its wireless charging initiative to more locations. The rollout will get started in San Francisco Bay Area Starbucks and Teavana shops this year before expanding to other major metropolitan areas in 2015.
Starbucks will install roughly a dozen charging stations in tables and countertops at each participating store. Customers will simply be able to place their phones on the surface for a quick recharge as they sip on their coffee or tea. The service will be offered free of charge.
Of course, your device will need to support the wireless charging standard for it to work. At present, only a small handful of phones offer the feature natively. For all others, including the iPhone, customers will need to use an adapter or case to enable wireless charging.
If you recall, Starbucks joined the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) in October 2012 alongside AT&T and Google. The PMA, founded by Powermat Technologies and Proctor & Gamble (the parent company of Duracell), is a standards group intent on creating wireless power standards for smartphones and other devices using IEEE guidelines.
At present, there are a few wireless standards all vying to come out on top. Starbucks’ decision to move forward with a nationwide rollout using Powermat technology could help sway the industry in its favor much like it did with Wi-Fi more than a decade ago. Just don’t expect any drastic changes overnight.