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Starbuck's Wireless Charging Stations Won't Work With Most Devices 114

Posted by timothy
from the gotta-start-somewhere dept.
Lucas123 (935744) writes Starbucks today announced that after beta-testing wireless charging in several locations, it will roll it out to all of its cafes in the U.S. Unfortunately, the Powermat wireless chargers they chose to use doesn't support the overwhelming number of mobile devices that are enabled for wireless charging using the Qi standard. Of the 20 million consumer devices estimated to have shipped in 2013 with wireless charging capabilities, nearly all were built with the Qi specification, according to IHS. The majority of the Qi technology was built into devices such as the Google Nexus 4 and 5 smartphones, Google's Nexus 7 second-generation tablet and a number of models in Nokia's Lumia smart phone range. The battle between the three wireless charging consortiums is expected to continue to adversely impact adoption of the technology.
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Starbuck's Wireless Charging Stations Won't Work With Most Devices

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  • by AnotherAnonymousUser (972204) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @04:07PM (#47225167)
    Yeah...nice work on this headline.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It used to be nobody would RTFA. Now the editors won't even RTFH.

    • by CmdrPorno (115048)

      Looks like the editors won't won't work either. Maybe they're all at Starbucks (which, by the way, editors, has no apostrophe).

      How much does being a copy editor at Slashdot pay, and where can I pick up an application? Does the job include complimentary room and board at the Geek Compound?

    • by RevWaldo (1186281)
      So it's not opposite day?

      .
    • by grub (11606)
      It's a double negative. In reality the wireless chargers work flawlessly.
    • What about this doozy?

      the Powermat wireless chargers [plural] they chose to use doesn't support...

      And who or what is IHS?

      according to IHS

      • by Linzer (753270) on Friday June 13, 2014 @03:40AM (#47228047)

        And who or what is IHS?

        Oh, that one's easy: it's Jesus. It's been a shorthand for his name since the 14th century.

        See for example this [theartofpainting.be]:

        The letters IHS were the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus IHSOYS, which stood for Yahweh. They could also be the abbreviation of ‘Iesus Hominum Salvator’, Jesus the Saviour of Mankind. The use of these letters as symbols of Christ may have originated with Saint Bernardino of Siena (1380-1444) who made a plaque in Volterra with these letters inscribed, surrounded by rays of light.

        So for clarity, they should have written:

        Of the 20 million consumer devices estimated to have shipped in 2013 with wireless charging capabilities, nearly all were built with the Qi specification, according to Jesus, the Saviour of Mankind.

        FTFY.

        • The letters IHS were the first three letters of the Greek name of Jesus IHSOYS, which stood for Yahweh.

          Just a nitpick (and I know you're quoting another site): The Greek name of Jesus is IHSOYS in Greek letters, or Iesous transliterated into English letters. It doesn't stand for Yahweh, God's name used in the Old Testament. It just says Jesus.

          Awesome comment though.

          • by Linzer (753270)

            You're so right. It did seem strange when I read it, but then I was in a hurry to get this posted and go back to something resembling work, so I must have turned my critical thinking off.

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)
      Figures that the first comment would be someone criticizing punctuation.
      • by roc97007 (608802)

        Normally I would agree, but I've come across so many mistakes lately, particularly in the output of people who get paid to write, that I'm now to thinking we should pursue this mercilessly until everyone who writes something more than three people are going to read proofread their text before publishing.

        In other words, the price of violating the 3 foot rule [1] should be painful and lasting ridicule.

        [1] The three foot rule: Don't Write Anything Unless You Have a Dictionary and a Thesaurus Within Three Fee

        • How far away are dictionary and thesaurus websites?
          Also Strunk and White is a hack job

          • by roc97007 (608802)

            > How far away are dictionary and thesaurus websites?

            Pretty far if you don't use them.

            > Also Strunk and White is a hack job

            I've heard it said that Strunk and White shouldn't apply to experienced writers, but this is the first I've heard that it's a hack job. The point I was trying to make is that writing well is more than just spell checking. Practically any electronic device that supports text entry also has a spell checker these days, but a spell checker only tells you that a word of that spelling

        • Please, find the mistake in your post.

    • by johnsie (1158363)
      You still clicked the link though ;)
    • by Anonymous Coward

      "the Powermat wireless chargers they chose to use doesn't support the overwhelming number of mobile devices that are enabled for wireless charging using the Qi standard".

      No, Powermat doesn't support any mobile devices that are enabled for wireless charging using the Qi standard.

  • by wisnoskij (1206448) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @04:12PM (#47225205) Homepage

    Not only does this not support most devices, since most do not have wireless charging abilities, but it does not even support most wireless charging devices.

    • 'cause that ain't what the cool kids are doin', man

    • by PRMan (959735)
      What about a MicroUSB cable? That would have supported 99% of stuff.
      • by CastrTroy (595695)
        Why not just a standard power outlet, or perhaps one with USB ports.
      • by roc97007 (608802) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @05:38PM (#47225713) Journal

        What about a MicroUSB cable? That would have supported 99% of stuff.

        Or just a USB plug. Side benefit -- you could have a remote computer secretly sucking the data off the phones.

        Wait, never mind.

      • If you plug a Starbucks USB cable into your pocket computer, you are a fool
    • Because people do not lug the charger around with them. There are issues with plugging into random usb ports.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        There are issues with plugging into random usb ports.

        Only if you have a shitty phone from a company that doesn't understand security (ie, Apple).

        The only security that Apple takes seriously is preventing you from doing things with your phone that Apple doesn't want you to.

      • huh? issues can't travel thru 5VDC lines.

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)
      Because then they'd either have to track usb chargers, or customers would have to carry them around. Kind of removes the convenience for either party.
      • Since I don't have a car in which to plug a USB charger into a cigarette lighter socket, I often slip a charger into my backpack when commuting. Starbucks isn't ubiquitous in my country but other cafes don't seem to mind if I ask for free electricity for charging.

        USB is quite common in some airport lounges these days. The freedom to just carrying around a usb cable would be an advantage - rolls up into a jacket pocket without the lumpy bits of an associated wall wart.

        Obviously may require the expensive ser

    • Duracel's Powermat can be added to many smartphones by way of a case. Most Apple products are supported and they have agnostic products as well.

      Where as Qi seems to be mostly built-in devices, so no grandfather (or father) support.
    • by SpzToid (869795)

      Here's a photo and a description of a USB adapter for the purpose of charging phones without native wireless charging support.

      If you don't own a supported device, you'll be able to purchase a tiny, inexpensive receiver "ring" that plugs into your phone and lets you toss it onto the pad for recharging.

      http://www.theverge.com/2014/6... [theverge.com]

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      A lot of places in Japan have outlets by the seats now. It was kind of weird for me at first because back in the UK you are not usually allowed to put sockets near where water may splash, and I could see a knocked cup of coffee getting into some of these. Still, it's a nice service.

      I like the idea of Qi wireless charging though. I use it exclusively in my home and car now. No need to carry USB cables or wear the connector out. I sync everything wirelessly too.

    • You must be confusing P&G with PG&E.

      In California, PG&E is a utility company and its business is to sell electricity.

      Procter & Gamble, on the other hand, owner of the Duracell Powermat brand, is a branding company. Its business is to grow and sell brands at huge premiums, even if it means it has to massively overpay for preferential shelving placement in retail/coffee establishments.

      Because make no mistake, Starbucks is getting paid for this. The real patron here is Proter & Gamble.

  • From quickly RFTAing, we've got a problem with the double negative in the headline. iPhones and most non-Google phones don't support the Qi/Duracell Powermat "standard"... they might as well give us a USB port instead of that thing.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    1. Starbuck's
    2. Won't Won't
    3. Work Most devices

    Well done. Have you lost a bet?

  • Let's think about why we need a public charging standard that's so limited... True outlet in public? That's an invitation for hair toys to the women...

  • One that comes, all plugs will be power cords and everything will work together.

    One Plug to Rule Them All
    One Plug to Bind Them
    One Plug to Find Them All
    And in the power Blind Them

    • One that comes, all plugs will be power cords and everything will work together.

      One Plug to Rule Them All
      One Plug to Bind Them
      One Plug to Find Them All
      And in the power Blind Them

      One plug to be inserted once, twice, thrice before it actually goes in.
      You'll need to wait for USB 3.1 for reversibility.

  • by LynnwoodRooster (966895) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @04:32PM (#47225343) Journal
    See, Starbucks is good because they give you free charging. And Starbucks is good because most people cannot use it, so it will keep the power consumption low and thus make them more energy efficient. It's a win/win all around!
  • Why would a charging station need a standard? If you're near EMF, suck it up!
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @05:03PM (#47225503) Journal

    And here's the reason:

    "The PMA also champions a magnetic inductive wireless charging technology that requires a more tightly coupled link between the charger and device. In addition, the PMA developed an open network API for network services management. So, for instance, Starbucks would be able to identify mobile devices charging in its cafes and gather usage pattners or target users with marketing and advertising."

    So they'll give up convenience for most of their (high end phone wielding) clientele for a swipe at tracking you and selling you and your information. The decision makes sense in that light. Nothing is free, not even free wireless charging. Unless, of course, Apple decides to weigh in with the PMA this fall, in which case there will be a huge batch of high end, security poor sheep ready to fleece.

  • Maybe instead of dicking around with stuff like this, they could invest in having more than set of outlets for patrons at their stores.

  • by mythosaz (572040) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @06:12PM (#47225929)

    Starbucks should give up on coffee and focus on it's core strength - having a bunch of hipsters sit around and write their screenplays.

  • by jtownatpunk.net (245670) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @06:13PM (#47225935)

    Not just because they picked the wrong standard. (I'm picturing Gil Gunderson making the pitch.) The real problem is that wireless charging doesn't transfer very much power. My new phone has a 2 amp charger but it gets less than half that thru a wireless charger. 2 amps can get me a good chunk of charge in 20 minutes. Wireless can't. If I'm low enough that I need to charge on the go, I need the maximum current that my device can handle.

    A wireless charger is fine for keeping the phone topped off at my desk where the phone's sitting for hours with the display off. It's pretty much useless when I'm only going to be sitting for a few minutes.

    Just put an outlet at each table and be done with it. You know they had to run power to the wireless systems so it would have been simple to install outlets.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      Just put an outlet at each table and be done with it. You know they had to run power to the wireless systems so it would have been simple to install outlets.

      An outlet in a retail location requires conduit. A phone charger runs on low-voltage DC and only requires a nearby outlet, not one directly at the point of charging. Too bad they picked a standard people don't have in their phones. Probably it was free.

      • by PPH (736903)

        An outlet in a retail location requires conduit.

        Already done. Starbucks has wired most of their shops to accomodate people who want to plug in laptops. Simple combo USB/AC outlets would handle phones as well. No special (licensed) technology needed.

        I wonder if Starbucks went this route because the Powermat technology includes unique device IDs in every receiver.
        <sarcasm>Gee, I wonder what they could do with yet another ID assigned to a customer.</sarcasm>

    • While I agree with you, I'm hopeful this will change, and that in a few iterations of this technology it'll be fast.

      Honestly, I've had so many times my phone has just gone low battery or run out of battery, it would be refreshing if I could just go into a coffee shop, grab a cappuccino, and come out with a fully charged phone.

      (Yes I realize I can do this if I carry my charger with me, but come on, who wants to do that?)

    • by necro81 (917438)

      A wireless charger is fine for keeping the phone topped off at my desk where the phone's sitting for hours with the display off

      Of course, at that point, you may as well have a (wired) dock, or a cable. It's not like it's that hard to get power into a phone.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      The real problem is that wireless charging doesn't transfer very much power. My new phone has a 2 amp charger but it gets less than half that thru a wireless charger.

      You have to think of it more like how an electric car is used. Instead of going to the petrol station and pumping in vast amounts of energy very quickly most of the time you just top it up at a more sedate pace when the opportunity presents itself. If that doesn't suit you then you are in the minority and need to carry a high current wired charger.

      Having said that 1A charging is nothing to sniff at. I actually prefer to use a 500mA charge rate most of the time because I'm not in a hurry (main charge is over

    • Because the longer you sit there waiting for your device to charge, the more coffee they can sell you.
  • I mean HD-DVD...

  • Could be useful (Score:4, Insightful)

    by PPH (736903) on Thursday June 12, 2014 @07:33PM (#47226327)

    If they market heated coffee mugs that work with this technology.

  • So the people behind the competing standard... claim that the PMA devices won't work with "the vast majority" of devices that are out there, yet according to this article: http://bgr.com/2013/04/17/sams... [bgr.com]

    It's going to work with Samsung, HTC, Google, Blackberry, and LG devices.

    What exactly are these "vast majority" Qi devices, and who is building the things, because it's not these guys...

  • The last time Starbucks adopted a technology like this was in 2001 when they chose WiFi - a move that then settled conflicting standards and made WiFi what it is today. Starbucks today is 5X its size in 2001, so you can imagine the excitement.
  • by MrLint (519792)

    I don't really understand why nearly 5 years after the palm pre, this isn't a built in feature at this point. The market is running more and more toward unopenable, and unserviceable phones anyway. The inductor back panel for my pre was exactly the same size as the factory one.

    That being said, webOS let you do things current phones cant to... :|

    • by RobSwider (669148)
      "The battle between the three wireless charging consortiums is expected to continue to adversely impact adoption of the technology." No one wants to pick a tech that will go obsolete HD DVD. Not to mention having to pay for the licensing of said tech. And I'm guessing that any desire to grow a fourth "standard" in-house would be snuffed out by the threat of IP suits. You know, "For the good of the consumer"®

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