How many times have you been faced with the dilemma of choosing between using data connection to navigate to your
destination or saving your phone battery from draining? Or how many times are you caught up in a situation when you had to send an important email while you are commuting but your battery is almost dead?…
There is no doubt that with the increased use of data connection, cell-phone chargers have become essential carry-on items and being on the lookout for charging ports has turned into a constant mission!
Thankfully AT&T has now come up with an action plan to save the day. Starting Tuesday, 25 solar-powered charging stations will be placed in parks, beaches and other outdoor places in 5 boroughs as part of a pilot project initiated by AT&T and the city.
Marissa Shorenstein, president of AT&T’s New York division views this effort as “…a commitment to being a part of the New York community as a corporate citizen but also as a way for New Yorkers to continue to engage with their technology as they continue to consume more and more data.”
These stations are steel poles, designed by a Dumbo-based firm, Pensa, with solar technology from Goal Zero (a mobile solar start-up) and are 12.5 foot long with three petal-shaped solar panels fanning on top. The idea is to accommodate up-to 6 devices at a time and the best part is that it is not limited to a particular service provider, so you can use it irrespective of who your wireless service provider is. Moreover it also has ports for all leading cellphones; iPhones, Androids, BlackBerrys along with the standard USB charging cables. These stations have three 15-watt panels and one 168-watt-hour lithium ion battery pack which can enable them to remain operational through night or five days without sunshine and it will only take 2 hours to charge a smartphone completely.
Among the initial launch spots are Union Square Park, Metrotech Plaza and Rockaway Beach. Depending on the success of this pilot project, AT&T will decide on its expansion in other cities. This project’s estimated cost is between $300,000 to $500,000.
The underlying idea is to encourage people to use more data and stay more connected than ever, without worrying about the battery life of their phone. If this expands successfully, the mobile phone will get even more mobile!