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25 portable charging stations coming to NYC to help juice you and your phone

Here’s some eco-friendly news if you’re a New Yorker or plan on visiting New York City in the near future. AT&T is rolling out charging stations that aren’t connected to the electricity grid. Instead those stations will be powered by our local star – the Sun.

Starting today, 25 of these solar-powered charging stations, called Street Charge, will appear in a variety of public places in New York City. Parks, beaches, and other locations will take part in this pilot program between the city and AT&T.

The charging stations themselves were designed by Pensa, a design and consultancy firm based in Brooklyn. Street Charge itself is a poll with three blades on top that contain the photovoltaic material to convert sunlight into direct current electricity. The middle of the Street Charge poll will have three tables to place your phone on while it charges. You’ll get build-in cords for iPhone’s, mini USB, and three female USB’s for people that have their own cords. The base is weighted, but can also be bolted down for permanent installations.

So are the ones in the pilot program permanent? Not quite, they’ll be rotating locations throughout NYC. Be on the lookout for them in places like Pier 59 in Hudson River Park, The Staten Island Zoo, Governors Island, and more.

Anybody in NYC thinking of taking advantage of these portable chargers when out and about? Or is more publicity stunt than useful? Sound off below.

Source: NY Times, More Info: Pensa

Thanks for the info Erick H!

  • I can see these getting stolen or the users becoming targets of theft while their phone is out on the table. Good idea though - I wish they had more of these everywhere!
  • I think a better answer is having charging where people are anyway. Waiting rooms, food courts, etc. Not randomly in the open.
  • Well you probably shouldn't just put it there and walk away... 
  • It's more that people would put it down on the table and be distracted
  • Then don't put it down and get distracted... You're welcome :]
  • Easier said than done :P
  • No Qi charging?
  • +1 what's the deal with no wireless! Is it more issue because its not standard?
  • The percentage of phones equipped with WC is so low right now.. I'm sure it will catch on eventually..
  • well - they will catch up if nokia would equip their phones with Qi again. At the moment they dont
  • hmmm , you mean to say that when Nokia introduced a Wireless charging phone People called it thick and heavy so when it dropped it for a charging cover you got pissed :D , Anyways actually they embedded it too in the Lumia 928
  • This is for a quick charge. Qi is a lot slower than a wired connection.
  • I wouldn't say "a lot slower", Qi charges at a rate of 85%. Not a big difference.
    To thirdday2002, your on the right track. There isn't a set standard yet, many believe that Qi will lose out to another standard (there are a couple of others, I forget there names), I think it really depends on what iPhone/Android or carriers decide to go with. Also the technology is still advancing.
  • Doesn't Qi charge at 650mA? My phone charges at 2000mA. In that case, I would definitely say Qi is a LOT slower.
  • You seem to have charge capacity mixed up with charging rate.
  • Lol female usbs
  • Cuz they aren't as awesome as male usbs :-P
  • Mini USB? Or micro?
  • That's what she said? The infographic says mini USB, but micro would make more sense. Maybe a typo on their part?
  • Speaking of typos Sam, I believe you meant poles, not polls.
  • ^
  • And 'built-in', not build-in'. These look pretty cool though.
  • I'd rather have a Wireless charging solution installed at work.
  • same here. good that my 920 supports wireless charging and I have a nokia wireless charging pad
  • Agree with OP, this is going to be a haven for thieves ripping off good-natured (naive?) mid- westerners. It should include a lockbox with a pincode or something to add at least some level of protection
  • You're not meant to leave it there, you plug it in and have a chat or something while it charges. It will need to be a rapid charge. It's not to charge you full phone, just give you a bit of an extra boost. Just like you might choose a cafe with power sockets to charge your laptop, you might choose to meet someone here to get a bit of extra charge in your phone.
  • 25? That's 1 for every 25,000,000 people when talking about New York.
  • Yes, because there are 652 million people in New York. By some miracle more than double the total population of the united states..
  • By an even bigger miracle, 652% of the sarcasm from my post blew eight over your head.
  • I think you got an extra zero there
  • No offense, but who are the idiots leaving their phones to charge while they go off somewhere? I don't think theft will be that big of an issue if people are responsible and remain at the tables.
  • Mini or micro USB? I thought most phones nowadays were micro
  • +1 Its probably a non technical writers mistake. I can't find anyone to donate my collection of mini-USB chargers!
  • Cool, I'll have to travel to New York one of these days and try it out
  • Great find and article. Thanks for sharing! A minor editorial nitpick: you currently use the word "poll" instead of the correct word "pole". If this isn't the best way to "armchair edit" please let me know and I'll use that if I ever feel the urge to do so again. :)
  • Ummm I see alot of phones being stolen, as a new yorker you just can't leave your phone laying around like that.
  • Did they say to leave your phone there? Now that *would* be silly. And no, they didn't.
  • Why is everyone talking about leaving your phones here while you walk away? You are not supposed to walk away while your phone is charging. These stations already exist in airports. There are no lockers, you plug your phone in and stand there and wait.
  • It looks boring to stand there and do nothing, though, unless there's a nice girl standing there as well. :)
  • Turn it into a speed date. "Do you come here often?"
  • Double entendre!!! Lol
  • The girl would say: "yeah, i come here twice a day, cuz i'm using a S4" XD
  • Or you could choose it as a place to meet someone or eat you lunch, just like you might choose a cafe you know has available power sockets so you can charge your laptop there.
  • It's about being distracted while you're waiting, not walking away. You've got strangers sharing the same pole (3 per pole). The poles are out in the open too. If your phone is sitting there it can be easily be snatched by another user or a passer by.
  • Then hold on to your phone while it charges... You're welcome again :]
  • Even should someone stay with their phone, I still see this as an issue. With your back turned, someone could just run up fast and be gone fast. Yea there are some who could chase after in certain situations but what about others who cannot? I agree with there be a locking mechanic or the stations being monitored in some fashion. Truly a needed evolution in personal electronics. As wireless charging develops I am sure this would be an added.
  • I am handicapped. In my case, they don't even have to run. lol
  • lol..
    The sun is not a star.
  • Um, actually, it is
  • Not sure if I should actually respond to this but since I have already I guess I will. The sun IS a star. It is actually the closest star to earth.
  • Seriously?  -eye roll-
  • For real
  • ...
  • Really? Really? Really. You're not ready for a smartphone, or any electronics for that matter. Go get a science book.
  • Sarcasm guys.
    s.a.r.c.a.s.m. =D
  • He has right Sun is Sun and Star is Star :)
  • Our planet = Earth. Our star = Sun. Our galaxy = Milky Way. No one's really come up for a name for our solar system though, but Sol System seems common enough.
  • Pretty sure our sun is called "Sol" to differentiate it from other stars.
  • *speechless #lol
  • Poll? Seriously?
  • This will be good for all of new yorks thousands of homeless people, now when they lose their house, they can keep their phone. New York is such a horrible, horrible place!
  • This just seems like a blatantly bad idea for so many reasons. What about winter? Why won't bad guys steal the charging hardware? Or just vandalize it? Why would you go somewhere to charge your device and then the next day, find the charging station moved? Who has time to stand around waiting for a device to charge? How expensive are these kiosks? Etc.
  • Let me try to help. 1. The sun shines in the winter and the units are movable/removable. 2. Bad guys steal everything, so maybe we shouldn't have bus shelters, bike racks, park benches, picnic tables, streetlights, either. 3. See last answer. 4. I don't think the concept is that these are everyday use, but as needed so it is unlikely too many people will go visit the same pole every day. 5. If you need a charge on your phone to make a call, you have the time. 6. Don't know the answer to that, but it is considered an urban amenity so it is one of those costs of making a city a better place to live (just like all of those other things I listed above that can be stolen and vandalized) and there are probably advertising opportunities on the devices as well. It may or may not be a practical idea, but can't we at least congratulate the ingenuity and let the trial run before we judge?
  • "Street Charge is a poll..." Sam, don't you mean "pole"? In the third paragraph.
  • I caught that also. Ah well. :)
  • Muggers and thieves of NYC, you know where to go now! :D