Starbucks' New Wireless Chargers Proves It's Becoming A Bar, And A High-Tech One

Starbucks is synonymous with recharging, and now the coffee giant will let you recharge with more than just caffeine: Starbucks has teamed up with Duracell to install wireless charging pads in its stores for smartphones. Once a mere coffee chain, Starbucks is now evolving into... a happy hour and date night hotspot, apparently. Back in March, the chain announced its plans to start serving beer and wine after 4 p.m., along with small plates like bacon-wrapped dates and macaroni and cheese. Mm.

The new charging pads will use Duracell Powermat's PMA technology and be embedded in Starbucks counters and tabletops. You'll just place their device on the pads, and they'll start charging. As of now, the charging stations are only compatible with some smartphones — ones made by AT&T, BlackBerry, HTC, Huawei, LG, and Samsung — while users with phones made by other companies (namely Apple) will have to purchase a special case in order to use the Duracell pads.

The stations will be rolling out in San Francisco's Bay Area first, with additional locations in the U.S. and then Asia and Europe to follow. And this isn't the first time Starbucks has introduced technology way ahead of other comparable businesses – in fact, Starbucks was a pioneer in offering WiFi in public places, an idea that seems novel today.

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Hence, another step in the direction of "let's go to Starbucks on purpose" and away from "let's stop in this Starbucks until the movie starts." Still, with one on every corner, we'll never know if it's the new Malbec on the menu or the sheer convenience that motivates people to go.

And these are just the latest tricks that Starbucks is planning to roll out in hopes of becoming a super-coffee shop that serves all your indulgences, and accommodates all your tech needs....

Cloud-Based Coffee Brewing System

Starbucks has been using cloud-based Clover coffee brewing machines since 2008. This highly advanced brewing system uses cloud technology to control brew time and temperature, update recipes, track customers' preferences, and monitor employee performances.

An Unmatched Mobile Platform

In March, the coffee chain announced a new mobile platform that is so ahead of the curve that other coffee retailers can only dream of such features. These include the ability for a customer to order drinks ahead of time on their mobile device, digital tipping, a shake-to-pay function that speeds up the payment process, and algorithms to predict a customer's time of arrival to ensure hot beverages.

Moving Beyond Coffee Drinks

Another area in which Starbucks is exploring new and creative ideas is, naturally, its beverages. Starbucks chairman, president, and CEO Howard Schultz told Delta Sky Magazine that he's a "strong fan" of tea and juice.

Which might explain why the coffee chain acquired juice company Evolution Fresh in 2011 and tea brand Teavana in 2012. Starbucks even opened its first Teavana Fine teas and Tea Bar in NYC last October, breaking out of its caffeine-heavy mold and catering to healthier-minded consumers.