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Starbucks Begins Nationwide Rollout of Wireless Chargers in Coffee Shops

We have to agree with Chief Digital Officer of Starbucks Adam Brotman on this one – hunting around for an outlet for your phone charger at the café can be a bit of a chore. That’s why the coffee shop giant will begin to use Duracell chargers as “Powermat Spots” within Starbucks and Teavana shops to let you wirelessly charge your devices.

The rollout will begin slowly – only Boston and San Jose offer Powermat charging today – but Starbucks has plans to expand the initiative nationwide in 2015. Stores in the San Francisco Bay area will see it sooner. 

Unfortunately for most of us, Powermat uses the PMA standard for wireless charging rather than Qi. Most phones today with built-in wireless charging are Qi-compatible, not PMA compatible. So the only way you will be able to take advantage of these Powermat Spots, is to either buy a separate PMA-ready case to put on your phone, or buy soon-to-be-released “ring” receivers that can be plugged into your micro USB port.

If you’re so inclined, you can track the rollout at www.powermat.com/locations.

Via: Starbucks
  • Ajzen

    Good news to powermat users. But actually, Qi wireless charging is widely adopted by LG, Motorolar, Nexus, Nokia and some other phone manufacturers. And I’d prefer an external battery pack while on the go. You can take it out and plug in with a USB cable, then the phone gets to charge, and you don’t have to stop waititng for the phone being charged up. It would be a life saver while you are on the way, talking to somebody on the phone and it’s gonna power off. I carry a RAVPower branded 3,000mAh battery pack every day. It’s small and doesn’t take much space of my pocket and purse.

  • arod

    Dumb idea considering how slow wireless charging is….

  • Kevin N

    I want the 5 minuets back I just spent reading this.

  • Kevin N

    How long do people sit and drink coffee. My wireless charging takes a bit of time.

  • d-rock

    Aren’t all new Qualcomm chip models going to support all known wireless charging standards?

  • NexusMan

    Um, why would they use a standard that is not the most common?

  • Jeffrey Fazal

    I think most of the phone are compatible with qi wireless charger rather then this PMA wireless chargers. If coffee shop owners want to give facilities to its customers who are visiting there on regular basis, then they should use qi charger.

  • Michael Quinlan

    Nice going there… Digital Chief!

  • Brady

    $5 for $10 Starbucks eGift card –> http://www.groupon.com/deals/starbucks-2-2010

  • LionStone

    Way to divide an already established standard, Qi, by major Android and Window phones.

  • PaulACalvin

    it might be entertaining to sit and watch people try to get these chargers to work on their phones. You know all kinds of people that don’t even have wireless capability are just going to assume it will work. http://0rz.tw/9BIIY

  • bojo

    Cool. It’d be nice if they upgrade these to support notebooks in the future. There’s work currenlty being done to bring wireless charging to notebooks and other larger devices.

  • Scott H

    I don’t drink coffee, but it might be entertaining to sit and watch people try to get these chargers to work on their phones. You know all kinds of people that don’t even have wireless capability are just going to assume it will work.

    Kind of like watching people trying to fit giant items in their vehicles outside Costco. 🙂

    • Godzilla

      LOL, that is so true. Some dumb blonde with an iPhone 5 saying “it wont charge my phone”

    • epps720

      That would be fantastic and I’m sure the “baristas” will be asked a million times why their iPhone isn’t charging.

      I have a friend who recently bought a Jeep Cherokee and was telling me it has built in wireless charging for their iPhone. I told him the iPhone doesn’t have wireless charging, but apparently the salesman told them otherwise. He was a bit disappointed.

  • They have these at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf in LA. They’re great.

  • Godzilla

    I have a friend who is having budget issues. He always complains about having no money and yet he goes to starbucks every single day of the week, even his off days, to get a damn $7 coffee thing. Uhhhhh do the math dude.

    • JSo

      I like my $1.50 coffee from the gas station. Lol

      • Godzilla

        Exactly, or just buy the starbucks coffee in the store if you need it that badly, much cheaper. He also smokes, haha.

      • Daniel Maginnis

        Starbucks drip is $1.70-2.25 depending on size. That’s what I get.

      • I drink water. $0.00

  • View Askew


  • Godzilla

    I have never believed in wireless charging. It charges way too slow compared to USB. No thanks. Not to mention you have to buy the proper stuff for your phone to even be able to do this.

    • Blue Sun

      Built in Qi charging is a great way to preserve that USB port for more important things like data transfer.

      • Godzilla

        I honestly dont believe in that argument. I have had many phones and not one broken USB port.

        • TopXKiller

          at worst, you replace the usb port.. its not that hard

          • For some, taking apart a phone, removing the old USB port, and soldering on a new port is not exactly easy.

    • Cory S

      I wonder if people who say this have ever used Qi. It may charge a bit slower (I dont notice either way)..but I also charge everytime I sit the phone down now.

      • Kofi Williams

        Same here. I just plug it in and I’m actually able to still use it while it’s charging.

    • r0l

      I have a Qi charger for my N7, it’s just so convenient to just put it down on my nightstand and not fiddle with cables. Had the N7 not come with it I don’t know I would have spent the money, but Qi wireless charging docks/pads can be found for cheap.

  • JSo

    You must be pretty desperate for battery if you have to charge your phone in a Starbucks.

  • James

    I wouldn’t consider myself a germaphobe, but considering how dirty cellphones are known to be, sharing a charging mat with thousands of strangers just sounds disgusting.

    • How is it different from the hundreds of other surfaces you put your phone down on?

      • James

        Those other hundreds of surfaces aren’t clearly marked shared resting places for the devices that carry 10x more bacteria than toilet seats. At least tables, handles, faucets get wiped down once in a while.

        Again, while I don’t think I’m overly cautious about this stuff usually, it just seems like common sense.

        • jabarri2

          not really, why does the back of my phone matter? everything is covered in germs as it is, a few more from the sbux table isn’t going to hurt. Its not like you’ll get pinkeye! lol

          • James

            Actually, you very well could: http://newsfeed.time.com/2012/10/27/study-your-cellphone-is-teeming-with-germs

            “Tests of eight random mobile phones from a Chicago office found “abnormally high numbers of coliforms, a bacteria indicating fecal contamination,” reports the Journal, with about 2,700 to 4,200 units of the bacteria on each phone…Scientists say the sort of bacteria found in the study can result in flu, pinkeye or diarrhea…One 2011 study that took a look at the cell phones of 100 college students found them to be “veritable reservoirs of pathogens.'”

          • Jo

            That’s cause there are many people who don’t wash their hands after using the restroom. That fecal matter is EVERYTHING they touch. Not just phones.

        • bojo

          The table, door, the creamer container handle, etc. are all likely to be just as dirty or dirtier. Especially with people who don’t wash their hands after using the restroom. If you’re going to care about germs on the wireless matte then there are other current surfaces you should worry about as well. I personally worry about those other things but my laziness often wins out.

  • GIAN


    • Mark Faustino

      As expensive as it is to live in the Bay Area, I do enjoy the fact we’re usually in the front runnings of technological advances…..except Google Fiber…*pouts, hangs head in shame, dejectedly walks away*

      • GIAN

        Yeah, i was so sure we’d get it in the beginning, but i guess since BART had a hard time expanding, it will be hard for anything…at least we have great weather…85% sun 15% no sun.

      • LionStone

        So much red tape bs is probably why no Google Fiber in SF. To do anything, even in SSF, you need all kinds of permits up the wazoo. That’s why Google moved the Google Barge (party boat) because SF was gonna charge them way more than necessary.

    • jabarri2

      we’re always on the map, its just in this order of importance in the SV.

      Palo Alto
      Mountain View
      Los Gatos

      San Jose


  • BRIM

    Preparing for next iPhone.

  • sagisarius

    I think calling PMA a standard is a bit dubious… since no one uses it. I think you can buy a Duracell made iPhone case, and that’s about it. If they were using an actual standard like Qi, then this would make sense!

    • velocipedes

      Sounds like Starbucks is about to waste a whole lot of money!

  • burkett375

    No QI, no care.

    Sounds like Apple is up to something…

    • jabarri2

      exactly… hmmm… i wonder what apple will put in their new phone, QI? nope..

    • TopXKiller

      Apple always pissing in everyone’s coffee

    • r0l

      The problem is if the iPhone 6 drops using this spec stores/hotels/etc will adopt it and there is little chance of Qi making it long term.

      • velocipedes

        There are tens of millions of Android devices with QI, and dozens of manufacturers making QI hardware. There is literally one or two making PMA hardware. Even Apple can’t overcome that momentum. QI simply has way more industry backers at this point.

        • r0l

          I used to think like that. The problem is apple will likely sell an equal or greater number of iPhone 6s in the first year compared to all android devices with Qi built in.

          • michael arazan

            No way apple will allow another manufacturer to charge their devices, apple will make it so their devices are only compatible with authorized apple chargers to charge and will probably have some code in their to make sure.

            So how much is starbucks raising prices because of the free charging. Or is it every 5 cups with a whole punch

          • r0l

            The company with the largest mobile 3rd party accessory market all authorized by Apple. The company that devotes part of their own stores to 3rd party products. They are the ones that are now going to cut out 3rd party options?

            As an Android user the thing I am most jealous of is not apps but the ridiculous number of high quality 3rd party accessory options. Luckily Android has been catching up for non-device specific devices.

  • Bryan Mills

    Because people can’t enjoy a cup of coffee without using their phones.

    • rawr

      Your first mistake was thinking 90% cream and sugar was coffee.

      • Godzilla


      • jabarri2

        actually as a previous manager at SBUX, i can tell you most of my customers who were there to work, or took time to sit down and enjoy their time often used their phones, were drinking normal coffee, at most with about 2 ounces of milk. All of the frappuccinos and crap went to the kids who’d just leave. If that makes any sense, these people need to charge their laptops and chargers while drinking coffee 🙂

    • They wouldn’t be using their phones here, as they would be charging.

      • Bryan Mills

        Because phones are rendered unusable while charging?

        • At the moment, yes. They have to stay flush with the mat.

          • LionStone

            They will just hover over it