McDonald’s To Offer Wireless Charging In 50 Restaurants

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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McDonald’s is introducing 600 charging spots for those with a Qi-standard equipped device

Hungry visitors to 50 McDonald’s restaurants in the UK will soon be able to charge their smartphone wirelessly while they devour their burger and fries.

The fast food chain is expanding its partnership with wireless charging specialist to install 600 hotspots in selected restaurants following a successful trial between the two partners.

The charging spots use the Qi charging standard championed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and included in 70 smartphones and tablets, including some Google Nexus and Nokia Lumia devices.

McDonald’s wireless charging

McDonalds wireless chargingEach of the 600 hotspots are water resistant and easy to wipe clean, making them ideal for a restaurant environment where a spilt soft drink is never far away. McDonalds has offered free Wi-Fi for some time and will hope its latest technological offering will entice more customers to come through its doors.

Other retailers have also installed wireless charging mats at their outlets, most notably Starbucks, however widespread adoption has been hindered by the presence of three organisations offering competing standards: Qi, the Power Matters Alliance (PMA)’s ‘PowerMat’ and Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP).

Both Qi and the PMA’s PowerMat technology use the ‘induction’ method which requires a device to be placed on a charging plate, while A4WP powered systems like Qualcomm’s Reznence use ‘resonance’, which operates over a short distance and allows the charging of multiple devices or cars.

However, the creation of a common standard moved a step closer this week after the PMA and A4WP announced a formal merger. The PMA has promised to adopt A4WP for magnetic-resonant charging hardware, while A4WP will add the PMA’s inductive kit to its resonance systems, to create multi-mode wireless chargers which can charge using induction and resonance.

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