Starbucks Picks Up Coffee Bean's Abandoned Inductive Charging Initiative

Dave Zatz —  June 12, 2014


While Coffee Bean may have given up on café table Qi charging, Starbucks has just announced a nationwide initiative to bring Powermat inductive charging to all US stores. Despite the promise of wireless power, a variety of competing standards and far-from-universal mobile manufacturer integration have led to limited consumer uptake. Perhaps more than 12,000 retail SBUX outposts will stimulate adoption. Although, iPhone and iPad owners will require compatible cases or external chargers, which probably defeats the purpose, as wireless power hasn’t (yet?) been integrated.

Duracell Powermat and Starbucks today announced that they have begun a national rollout of Powermat wireless charging in Starbucks beginning with stores in the San Francisco Bay Area. Powermat Spots comply with the open standard set by the PMA. Stores will be equipped with ‘Powermat Spots’ – designated areas on tables and counters where customers can place their compatible device and charge wirelessly. Select Starbucks stores in Boston and San Jose offer Powermat today and the broader rollout can be tracked at

6 responses to Starbucks Picks Up Coffee Bean's Abandoned Inductive Charging Initiative

  1. Rollout will take at least a year… more if Google replacing AT&T WiFi is any indication. Also wonder if Starbucks will sell Powermat cases in-store. That’d probably help. But also lead to baristas providing tech support.

  2. Inductive/Wireless charging is one of those features that would be great for a store like Starbucks to implement, but not quite yet. While I understand that they have joined/created the PMA (power matters alliance), they don’t really have any buy in from any device makers. Until something like Witricity can actually come to market and work with devices across the board I don’t see this as attracting huge buy in.

  3. This is such a ridiculous partnership. For starters, there has never been a single mobile device to hit the market with PMA-compatible wireless charging embedded. Nor has any major case manufacturer created a case with PMA functionality built in.

    On the other hand, the phones I can think of off-hand that have Qi built in are the Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 (2013), Lumia 920, Lumia ICON, and probably a few others. Samsung has had Qi-enabled accessories for its devices since the GS4, at least.

    I’m *really* curious as to how on earth Duracell/PowerMat sold this in to Starbucks, given there are probably around 5 people in the U.S. still using the fugly PowerMat cases on their phones to be able to take advantage of this.

    The frustrating part to me is what’s going to happen. Starbucks is going to “trial” this for a few months, notice that NO ONE uses them (cause they can’t), and then when they pull the pads out of the test stores, the story is going to be that ‘no one uses wireless charging’ which is completely untrue. Sad.

  4. Which is why I wonder if they’ll also sell cases… Or maybe they know something about the next gen iPhone or Galaxy that we don’t. It is interesting they’re calling for a multiyear, multicontinent deployment without announcing it first as a trial. I assume most folks who currently have wireless charging builtin don’t know or don’t care (as there aren’t very many public options).

  5. Crap!! All my wireless charging devices use the Qi format. I hope this doesn’t end up becoming the standard and spell an end for Qi charging. Since getting my first wireless charging device, I will never go back to use a cellphone or tablet that doesn’t use wireless charging. But since I have half a dozen Qi chargers at home, at work, and in the car that I use daily, I would prefer for the Qi format to stay around.

  6. Rumor has it that the iphone 6 will have wireless charging.