The smartphone industry is made up of many different platforms and manufacturers that can divide users into different camps, but one of the few things that affects everyone is battery life. Sure, your Galaxy S 4 may have a ton of extra software features or you might be rocking an iPhone 5 with iOS 7, but none of those things matter all that much if your phone's battery is dead. Battery life is becoming (slightly) less of an issue for residents of New York City today, though, because AT&T is launching solar-powered charging stations throughout the city to help keep devices topped up.
AT&T has teamed up with design firm Pensa and mobile solar tech company Goal Zero to install 25 solar-powered Street Charge charging stations in New York City, including places like Metrotech Plaza, Rockaway Beach and Union Square Park. The New York Times notes that each station can charge six different devices at a time and features plugs for iPhone, Android and BlackBerry hardware as well as standard USB cables. The stations are capable of filling a phone's battery in two hours, but they can also provide a 30 percent boost of juice in 30 minutes.
The structures themselves are 12.5 feet tall and feature a trio of solar panels at the top. They'll be rotated throughout different locations in New York City, with stations getting moved every three to four weeks through October. The companies involved also prepared these charging stations for situations in which they might go without sunshine for a period of time; each unit features a 168-watt battery pack that can keep the station going throughout the night.
These Street Charge stations look like pretty handy ways for cellphone owners to top up their devices while out and about. Not only can it be tough to find an outlet in some areas, especially in places like parks where many of these stations will be located, but not everyone wants to carry a charger and cable with them at all times. That's where this charging stations come in, and the fact that they harness solar power to juice up gadgets make them even neater.
The Street Charge program is currently in its pilot phase, by AT&T says that it could roll the service out to other cities if it proves successful. A promotional video highlighting the charging stations can be found below.