Recharging Yourself and Your Phone at Starbucks

November 28, 2014

in Travel Tech

  • SumoMe

For some months, what looked like 45 RPM records have been imbedded in the counter by the window of at a Starbucks near the gym where I work out.

( Jerry Bakewell Flickr Photo)

( Jerry Bakewell Flickr Photo)

But they weren’t those oldie, goldie song discs. They were mobile device chargers built by a company called Powermat.

PowerMat IMG_3036

They remained inert for what seemed like forever, but now electricity flows to them and, by induction, into your mobile device to top off its battery.


Some phones can simply be set right on top of the Powermat to charge.

The bad news is that if you have an iPhone like mine, that won’t work.

The good news is that there is a solution: Just insert a little colored ring into the slot on your phone where you’d normally plug in a 30-pin or Lightning connector or, if your iPhone is insider of a battery case like the one from Mophie that I use, pick a ring with a micro-USB connector.

Powermat rings IMG_3038

The Starbucks I went to had several rings available on right on the counter where the Powermat charging stations are located. And if you hangout in Starbucks often, you might want to spring for $10 to buy your very own ring.

Powermat Ring Holder IMG_3032

But there’s more bad news.

It looks like the ring has to sit flat on the surface of the Powermat for charging to work.

Since my iPhone is in a battery case, the ring doesn’t touch the Powermat. And, unfortunately, I don’t think anyone makes a cable with a male micro-USB plug on the end that plugs into the phone, and a female 30-pin or Lightning plug on the other end that would fit into the Powermat ring.

I could, of course, remove the iPhone from the battery case, and plug in a ring with a Lightning connector into the phone. But that’s a nuisance, and sometimes my phone is fully charged but the battery case needs recharging, and the Powermat can’t charge the case.

Oh well. At least I can recharge my “battery” with a double-shot of espresso and cry in my latte when my iPhone battery dies.

Like Read/Write reporter Adrianna Lee, your experience may differ from mine. At the moment you’ll probably only find the Powermat chargers at some Starbucks locations in the San Francisco Bay Area. And at my “local,” the Powermats were only at the window counter seating, not at any of the free-standing tables.

Last updated by at .

Previous post:

Next post: