The fact that Starbucks closed all of its New York City and Long Island locations Sunday afternoon to let its employees get home before the transit system shut down, and will keep its stores shuttered Monday, underscores the predictions about Sandy’s imminent arrival.
Connecticut, New Jersey and other stores in the hurricane’s path will follow suit if necessary. But for those hunkered down in Starbucks stores in Boston, today is the day to fire up your phone with P&G's Duracell Powermat, the first market in which the chain is testing wireless charging.
Seventeen locations in and around Boston have launched "limited time in-store trial for wireless charging," said Starbucks chief digital officer Adam Brotman to the Boston Globe. "We're building the Powermat technology into some of the tabletops, just to get a sense for how our customers will react, compared to having to plug their mobile devices into the wall."
Starbucks rolled out free in-store WiFi in mid-2010, but hasn’t yet done the same with wireless charging. Now, with eight charging pads per participating location, smartphone-wielding Bostonians will be the first to check out the new Duracell service at partnership.
An ever-prescient entrepreneur, New York rapper Jay-Z joined forces with Proctor & Gamble's billion-dollar Duracell brand last year to market wireless charging systems and deploy wireless hotspots in New York, including one at the multimillionaire’s own 40/40 Club in Manhattan.
“Mobile devices have become essential tools in business, entertainment and managing our social lives,” commented Jay-Z, an investor in the Duracell Powermat joint venture, earlier this year. “Being able to charge wirelessly is a necessary step into the future.”
Brotman says that "customers are coming into our stores every day with mobile devices, and putting them down on the table. If they could be charging their device at the same time, then we've connected with that customer and met their need, maybe even before they realized they had a need for wireless charging."
Starbucks will test the technology through Christmas and then decide how and if to go forward. For those who don’t yet own an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy case inductive-ready, Starbucks will have a few freebies and loaners on hand.