Starbucks Makes A Grande Mess Of Wireless Charging

After promising to do so well over a year ago, 200 Starbucks locations have been modified to start offering wireless charging to users who choose to sit at a table and enjoy a nice beverage. Unfortunately, instead of using the wireless charging system that has been baked into dozens of smartphones and tablets over the last couple of years, Starbucks has maintained their relationship with the Power Matters Alliance. This means everyone who wants to use wireless charging will have to purchase a separate adapter in order to use it.

Energizer’s Powermat accessories have never really caught on. While using Powermats aren’t really all that different from using Qi chargers, you need some kind of adapter in order to use it with your phone. Sometimes these adapters are battery plate replacements or cases that plug in to your phone like the one pictured above, but since most smartphones today don’t have replaceable battery plates there are also microUSB adapters that plug in to your phone to allow wireless charging.

These adapters plug in right where your power cord usually goes, which defeats the “wireless” part of the experience when compared to the Qi charging alternatives that are just baked in to the phone or tablet.


Naturally, Starbucks will happily sell you a $10 adapter to use on these new “Powermat Spots.” If you don’t want to shell out the cash, Starbucks claims to have some kind of borrow/return adapter program available. By the look of things, only one person will be able to use these Spots at a time, because the ring will need to be perfectly centered in order to charge the phone.

There’s no mention of how quickly Starbucks plans to roll this out to the rest of their locations, but it’s frustrating to see how complicated the company has made this setup.

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