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Recharge While You Recharge: Duracell and Starbucks Plan a Wireless Coup




powermat ringThe worst thing about mobile phones is that the more they do for you, the more often they need to be charged. I can’t tell you how often I’ve grabbed my phone from my purse with a specific purpose in mind only to find a Low Battery message on my screen. That’s because I’m one of those people who can’t get into the habit of charging the phone every night.

What I need. . . and you need. . is a cheap, simple solution to the mobile charging problem. Duracell has it and it involves Starbucks.

A year ago, I wrote about how Duracell was testing their new Powermats at Starbucks in Boston. Apparently the test went well because now they’re at CES with plans to expand. (The timeline on when is foggy.)

Here’s how it goes. Starbucks will install charging mats on their tables. The units are round with a spindle like a CD-Stomper machine. The customer plugs a receiver ring into the phone, center of the ring drops around the spindle of the mat and the phone begins charging.

This picture is of an early version. The new version comes in a variety of colors and you can see the full set up over on CNET.

Duracell Powermat CEO Ron Rabinowitz told CNET that they plan to sell the receiver for under $10, probably through Starbucks locations. I imagine they’ll end up with a Starbucks logo on them, too. They’re just waiting on the green light from Starbucks to continue the roll out.

From a marketing standpoint, this would be a huge win for both Starbucks and Duracell – two companies you never thought would come together solving a major modern problem. And who is going to go into Starbucks for a charge without buying a coffee? Almost no one, so revenue rises because people can’t stand to be without their phone.

Starbucks is already known as the world’s virtual office space. I was looking at an article about co-working places in my area and Starbucks was at the top of the list. I’ve written there. I’ve held meetings there and I don’t even drink coffee.

This story also demonstrates the importance of mobile accessibility in our lives. People aren’t just charging their phones to take business calls. After its charged, while they’re still sipping hot coffee, they’ll use it to order flowers for mom’s birthday or buy a book from Amazon or watch a video. If you’re a business and you’re not part of that world. . . . well, do I need to even finish that sentence?

The next time you’re at Starbucks, count the number of people who are using a laptop, tablet or have a phone in their hand. It’s truly a modern marvel.