Disclaimer: You should definitely choose your locally-owned coffee shop over a chain like Starbucks. But on those days when you're desperate for caffeine and there aren't any other options, Starbucks must often suffice. Over the past few years, the espresso giant has made several attempts to green up its operations, from increasing recycled content in its cup sleeves to turning old food into plastic.
Recently, Starbucks announced the installation of Duracell Powermats at 17 coffee shops in the Boston area. The limited trial will allow some visitors to charge their mobile devices without need of a power cable. This seems a weirdly generous act considering New York Starbucks have been trying to discourage the laptop toting army from clogging up its tables, but we're not about to complain about fast, free charging. And if you've been wondering if a wireless charger is worth the investment, this could be a great way to test it out.The great thing about wireless charging is that while an outlet can only accommodate two cords at a time, a Duracell Powermat can handle three devices at once. Although the efficiency of charging via a cord versus wireless technology has been neck in neck, that may be changing. Not to mention that widespread adoption of wireless charging technology could help eliminate the use of disposable batteries, definitely a pro for the environment.
Those who want to take advantage of this perk won't simply be able to plunk their phones down as is, however. Compatible wireless charging cases will be necessary for smartphones such as the iPhone 4 and 4S, and the Galaxy S III. Feeling sad that you don't live in Boston? Take heart. It may extend nationwide in the near future. "Early in the year, we'll talk to our customers and our store partners and regroup with Powermat to figure out the next steps," Starbucks' chief digital officer Adam Brotman told Boston.com, suggesting there's hope the technology will receive a wider rollout before long.