Starbucks’ Wireless Charging Initiative Sounds Cool, Will Likely Disappoint ManyBy: Josh Wolford - June 13, 2014
Starbucks has just announced a new initiative to bring wireless charging stations to many of its stores. Awesome, right? The only problem is that not all wireless charging is the same, and Starbucks has gone with a technology that many devices aren’t compatible with – unless you purchase auxiliary products.
Starting in the Bay Area and spreading out across the country next year, Starbucks will equip their stores with Duracell Powermat spots, which use the Power Matters Alliance (PMA) standard.
“Powermat Spots in Starbucks are the result of almost a decade of scientific research spanning material sciences, magnetic induction and mesh networking,” said Ran Poliakine, CEO of Powermat Technologies. “The two-pronged power-plug dates back to the era of the horse drawn carriage, so that today’s announcement marks the first meaningful upgrade to the way we access power in well over a century.”
PMA does have a substantial amount of backers, including HTC, Samsung, LG, BlackBerry, and AT&T – but it simply doesn’t have the real-world presence of the competing Qi technology. Really, to be quite frank, not many manufacturers are putting PMA technology in their devices right now
On the other hand, take a look at just how many smartphones are Qi enabled. We’re talking the top smartphones from Nokia, HTC, Samsung, Google, LG, and more. The Qi standard is currently winning in terms of adoption, but Starbucks has chosen to go the PMA route – something that’s already upsetting customers.
“I know there are pilots for the PMA or powermat charging spots but no one has powermat devices and there are no new phones or gadgets that have powermat built in. The Qi standard makes way more sense and would be super convenient and sleek for customers to just set their phone down and charge. There are a TON of Qi products out there and Starbucks is picking a poor ‘standard’ that is out of touch with consumers and the marketplace. Please adopt the Qi wireless power standard and make all of our lives easier!!!” says one user in a Starbucks forum.
“Using PMA over Qi is a very anti-consumer move,” says another.
For most devices to be able to support PMA, they have to wear a special case or a receiver “ring” that plugs into the phone’s port.
But in the battle of PMA vs. Qi, Starbucks’ decision is a big win for the former.Apple does sell a Powermat (PMA) case for its iPhone, but the company has yet to pick a team and make its technology standard on its phones. I can hear the theories percolating now.
Image via Starbucks