What is one way for McDonald’s to lure in more customers into its store? Offer free wireless smartphone charging (how does wireless charging even work?)! According to QiAtCES, AirCharge announced at CES 2015 that they expanded their partnership with Mcdonald’s in the UK, and will now add over 600 wireless charging hotspots at more than 50 McDonald’s locations in the UK, including those in London. It has become so popular with the customers that many are willing to wait up to 30 minutes to access a single wireless charging hotspot.
The whole prospect of wireless charging in, and of itself floors me, because I don’t even know how it can possibly work, let alone work effectively. But now it is more than simply working, wireless charging is becoming a mainstream thing. Other restaurants might also join in on this trend after while to stay in competition with McDonald’s.
The wireless charging station, however, only works with Qi-enabled smartphones (for which there are only 70 different Qi smartphones on the market), and is only going to be implemented in the UK. So those of us with older smartphones or with Android devices are a bit out of luck, even if we do live in the UK.
McDonald’s, however, is not the first company to try experimenting with wireless hotspots. In mid-2014 Starbucks implemented new Duracell wireless hotspots to be embedded into counters and tables mostly in the San Francisco Bay Area (of course, because why wouldn’t it be?). These hotspots, however, doesn’t work with most popular phones. But rest assured, because these Starbucks do offer charging rings to help make your phone compatible… or you can just bring your charger.
I don’t know how well these charging stations will work, and will probably be put to better use in about 5 years when more phones of all different prices and brands are able to receive the Qi chip, or a device to allow for wireless charging. Although at the moment nothing seems to be able to beat the well-rounded use of a physical charger. It will be cool to see how this will change.
Is implementing wireless chargers in restaurants a good idea? Is it just a marketing ploy? Tell me what you think.