Consider this the beginning of the end for the panic induced by a smartphone with a dying battery.
Starbucks unveiled Powermat wireless charging in about 200 stores in the San Francisco area this Wednesday. The rollout will expand to additional major markets in the U.S., Europe and Asia in 2015, with plans to eventually equip every Starbucks with wireless charging.
Instead of forcing customers to search for plugs for traditional chargers, the stores equipped with 'Powermat Spots' feature designated areas on tables and counters to charge compatible phones and tablets without the wires.
While certain smartphones, including the LG G3 and the Asus PadFone, are enabled to charge using the Powermat, most smartphones – including iPhones – will need to use Duracell Powermat "Rings" to charge wirelessly. With this in mind, Starbucks is offering the rings for in-store purchase for $9.99 and allowing customers to borrow the rings on a per-visit basis.
"Just like Wi-Fi is expected to be available… cords should be eliminated," Powermat CEO Ran Poliakine told Entrepreneur in June. Starbucks played a key role in normalizing Wi-Fi and making internet access an expected amenity at any coffee shop. 2015 will be the first test to see if it can do the same for wireless charging – or should we say Wi-Chi?