AT&T’s Street Charge Provides Free Power For Your Smartphone

AT&T kicked off their Street Charge program today, opening solar-powered public charging stations across New York’s five boroughs. The Street Charge program grew out of the aftermath Hurricane Sandy, which devastated a huge chunk of the East Coast last fall.  Many New Yorkers were left without power, and when their smartphones died, they had no way to contact loved ones.

The Street Charge stations have a variety of connectors to accommodate most smartphones, including USB, Micro USB, 30-pin, and lightning connectors. They draw power from solar panels at the base of the kiosk and store it in lithium batteries at the top, continuing to deliver power throughout the night.  Goal Zero, a leading provider of creative solar power solutions, worked with AT&T to develop the design.

Power efficient processors like the Qualcomm Snapdragon have led the charge in extending battery life, but batteries still have physical limits.  For travelers especially, public charging stations will be essential for staying connected.

According to AT&T’s press release, the power is free to the public as part of an effort to “keep New Yorkers connected.”  This isn’t the first time AT&T has forged a path on behalf of smartphone users.   In NYC, they were one of the first companies to provide cellular service on subway platforms, and they also provide free WiFi at more than two dozen public parks in the region.

Right now there are four pilot locations strategically placed in heavily populated areas like Union Square and Coney Island.  AT&T plans to have 25 locations up and running by the end of the summer.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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