Free Smartphone Charging Kiosks Expand to More Neiman Marcus Stores

By Todd R. Weiss  |  Posted 2016-05-24 Print this article Print

He wasn't sure that the idea would catch on with customers, but the first machine, installed in a Whole Foods store in a Philadelphia suburb, was used by 50 customers in its first six hours in the store. The machine had signs posted that explained to customers how to use the kiosk.

The latest kiosks are monitored directly from ChargeItSpot's Philadelphia headquarters via video and include microphones that allow company workers to communicate with store customers if they have a problem using the kiosks, he said.

"We want them to have the certainty that there is someone there to help them," he said.

Other clients that use the kiosks include Bloomingdale's and Bergdorf Goodman stores, the Penn Medicine hospital group, casino company Caesars Entertainment, Verizon Wireless, Westfield Malls and retailers such as Under Armour.

Earlier in May, another smartphone charging vendor, MobileQubes, which rents plug-in mobile phone battery packs to smartphone users as they travel, extended its kiosk network to eight more train stations in Amtrak's Northeast Corridor. The latest stations to get the MobileQubes kiosks are Boston's South Station, Boston's Back Bay Station, the Route 128 Station in Westwood, Mass., Providence Station, New York Pennsylvania Station, Philadelphia's 30th Street Station, Wilmington Station and Baltimore Penn Station, according to a recent eWEEK story. The company installed its first kiosk in Amtrak's Chicago Union Station last August.

The MobileQubes kiosks allow mobile phone users to rent a plug-in battery booster module that gives one to two charges to an Android or iOS smartphone if they've forgotten their charger cord or don't want to wait while their device is charging in a wall socket. The plug-in batteries are called MobileQubes by the company and can be rented at one of its bright-green kiosks for $4.99 for the first 24 hours, plus 99 cents for each extra day up to seven days. After seven days, the rental is automatically transferred into a purchase and additional rentals accrue until the full price of $44.99 is reached. Renters can return the used battery packs to the original kiosk where they picked them up, at another MobileQubes kiosk in another location or can ask the company to send them a prepaid label to mail it back.

Each kiosk holds 160 of the 3,000mAh rental batteries and recharges each one as it is returned by a user. MobileQubes also has deployed its battery module kiosks in airports in New Orleans and Memphis, and has placed them in about 102 locations around the country, including in hotels and casinos. The company plans to have them in 300 to 500 locations by the end of year.


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