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At Starbucks, You'll Have to Wait Even Longer for a Table

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Not only will you have to stand around and wait for someone to end their conversation or pick up their laptop to vacate a seat at your local Starbucks (SBUX - Get Report), soon you're going to have to contend with customers waiting for their smartphones to recharge.

Starbucks and the battery experts at Duracell (a division of Procter & Gamble (PG)) are teaming to create a nationwide network of in-store countertops and tables with built-in wireless charging stations so customers will be able to "recharge" while they're recharging.

To complicate matters, there are a few restrictions to overcome to use the new feature. Not every smartphone will work with the new system. At the start, only a handful of Apple (AAPL - Get Report) iPhones and Google (GOOG) Android models are on the list. Recommended handsets are limited to Apple's iPhone 4, 4s, 5 and 5s as well as Samsung's Galaxy S3.

To take advantage of the new service, you'll also need one of the available Duracell accessories to attach to your phone and to get it to charge wirelessly, There's the Duracell snap-on AccessCase recently reduced to $30 for the iPhone 5 or $20 for the Galaxy S3 model. There's also the Duracell GoPower Day Trip external battery system or something called the Ring, a small dongle which plugs into your phone's 30-pin, Thunderbolt or microUSB charging port. The Ring will be "available at select locations only."

To monitor the wireless recharging process, there also is a free Powermatrix app available from both the Apple and Google Play stores.

Starbuck's chief digital officer, Adam Brotman, said the new feature will offer customers the next level of convenience.

"We were pleased with the customer response to the pilot tests, and we're now expanding this offering nationally to provide our customers a quality and reliable experience as they use our stores as their respite, their office away from home or as a gathering place," he said. 

Starbucks said it will be rolling out the new charging stations nationwide. For now, there are only a handful of locations -- 15 in and around Boston and another nine in San Jose. No exact timetable has been announced for other areas.

Duracell is careful not to mention exactly how long it will take to top-off your battery. That depends, of course, on the age and condition of your battery and how much of an actual charge it actually needs.

Bottom line? Expect longer waits because the average wireless charging session will take much longer than it takes for someone sitting in a comfortable chair to enjoy his "Asiago and Cheddar Bavarian-style Pretzel" and wash it down with a "Caramel Ribbon Crunch Frappuccino."

Why Apple's Overseas Tax Probe Is a Black Eye on U.S. Lawmakers

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-- Written by Gary Krakow in New York.

To submit a news tip, send an email to

Gary Krakow is TheStreet's Senior Technology Correspondent.

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