Coffee and I have a special relationship. I occasionally dilute my blood with plasma. And whilst it may be a stereotype, I like to write sitting in a busy coffee shop and I even consider coffee as a form of currency. It's reached the point whereby some days, I struggle to submit articles to Android Headlines until I reach a local coffee shop. Here's where I top up, both my batteries and myself on caffeine. And there's something about the sound of a coffee shop that helps my writing flow (there's an app for that when I'm drinking java at home). Now of course, this is something that the coffee shops have picked on very quickly and in part, it's caused a massive increase in the amount of free WiFi hotspots available, places to sit and work at and power sockets. And this leads me to Starbucks' partnership with Powermat, which has finally reached the UK.
As a trial, ten stores in London will be gaining Powermat wireless chargers plus adapters for those customers without a Powermat compatible device. The stores taking part in the trial, which will be live by the next couple of weeks, are Princes Street, Kingsway, Wardour Street, Pentonville Road, Harewood Place, Berkeley Street, Great Portland Street, Moorgate, Fleet Street and Euston Tower. Starbucks are planning to roll out the project to more stores in the coming weeks, too, but haven't clarified where and when just yet. Now, unfortunately for everybody out there with Qi charger-compatible devices, unfortunately Powermat is not compatible with the Qi charger technology (that McDonalds are trialing) and of course, some manufacturers (cough Apple) are yet to invent wireless charging, but Starbucks have thought of this. In the short term, customers will be able to borrow charger ring adapters, which one places in the centre of the charger plate and these are then plugged into the 'phone or tablet USB port. Although these will be free to borrow at first, Starbucks' ultimate plan is to sell these to customers.
There is a Powermat app available that can notify the user when the battery is either low, or fully charged (so – it replaces the battery icon, I suppose…) but can also help customers find the closest Starbucks with Powermat technology. To our readers: do you visit coffee shops and if you do, would the availability of a Powermat charger plate sway you towards Starbucks? Or are you too busy in McDonalds using the Qi charger? Let us know in the comments below.