While it will be a “nice-to-have” convenience, while relaxing with a cup of joe, Starbucks’ choice to roll out wireless charging mats that use Powermat’s Power Matters Alliance (PMA) standard backed by Duracell and Proctor & Gamble, means few people will be accommodated.
PMA has other notable members as well, AT&T, Samsung, and Sony, to name a few, so Starbucks’ vision of providing wireless charging, much in the way it pioneered Wi-Fi service, is indeed breaking ground since there are not very many devices that natively support PMA. In fact, we cannot think of any devices off hand that do. There are accessories that can enable charging, like the Nokia Lumia 1520 for AT&T, but Nokia’s native devices use the Qi standard. AT&T also sells a charging back cover for the Samsung Galaxy S5.
That means if you visit any of Starbucks’ 8,000 locations in the United States, and own a Nexus 4, Nexus 5, any number of Nokia Lumia devices, the wireless charging tables will not be of any use to you. The Wireless Power Consortium’s Qi standard currently has far wider industry support, with over 200 industrial members, compared to 72 members of PMA.
Starbucks hopes to be a catalyst that would entice manufacturers to incorporate wireless charging into more products, now that a place where people congregate is bringing the feature somewhat mainstream. The Bay Area of Northern California Starbucks locations will be the first to be outfitted with PMA charging tables. The rest of the installation should be complete by the end of 2015.