powerbarr

Toronto to get more phone battery charging stations

The next version of the iPhone is rumored to come equipped with fingerprint technology, larger screen size and a bigger camera but if it was up to me to make a wish list for the perfect smartphone it would be longer battery life.

I can't tell you how many times I have been out around the city to have my phone die halfway through the day. It got so bad for me that I had to give in and buy a portable power charger and an extra USB cable and carry it around with me just so that I could make it through the day.

And I am not alone. 67% of smartphone users have experienced not having access to a charger when they needed one while out. And 71% of the people who experienced this problem left their phone uncharged.

These stats come from a survey done by DanTeb Enterprises, a Toronto start-up supported by the Ryerson Digtial Media Zone incubator lab, who aims to solve this problem by placing charging stations in high traffic, public places to let you charge your phone for free.

The company is co-founded by Laura Miller and her father. Laura told me that the inspiration for DanTeb came out of her own personal frustration with dealing with her phone dying on the go and couldn't believe that no one was trying to solve this problem. She also saw a key business opportunity in using these charging stations for advertising to leverage a highly captive and literally "connected" audience.

There are currently 22 DanTeb charging stations in Canada, 16 of them in the Greater Toronto area. Charging stations are free to use and can charge up to 12 devices quickly and simultaneously via the various smartphone and tablet cables provided for devices such as the iPhone 5, older iPhones, Android and BlackBerry devices.

According to Laura, the stations get close to 2,000 charges a month with one station, located in a food court of a mall, seeing upwards to 6,000 charges in the same time period.

Charging stations can be found in the Sheppard Centre, Lawrence Square, Direct Energy Centre and on the Ryerson University campus. DanTeb is currently in talks with rolling out charging stations in the PATH, the Metro Convention Centre and the Eaton Centre.

DanTeb is not the only startup tackling the problem of premature smartphone battery death. Another Toronto-based start-up, Powerbarr, aims to make charging your phone not just accessible but sustainable with their solar-powered charging stations.

Created by a trio of Green entrepreneurs, Colin Campbell, John Wilson and Eleana Jusenlijska, the company is currently prototyping their free, renewable charging station at Cafe Belong in the Evergreen Brickworks. They are holding a funding event today at this location to raise enough capital to be able to roll-out the Powerbarr to 4-5 other locations in Toronto and KW in order to continue gaining necessary market data before formally launching the product later this year.

Depending on funding, you should expect to see the Powerbarr in Balzac's Coffee shops in Liberty Village and in The Tannery in Kitchener-Waterloo as well as Steam Whistle Brewing on Bremner Blvd this summer. The team's goal is to see 1,000 sustainable charging stations in North America by 2015.

The Powebarr has 4 USB ports and also comes equipped with various standard USB cables for smartphone and tablets. The charging bar powers your phone just as quickly as a regular power outlet and can continue charging devices regularly for 3-4 hours a day for up to 20 days without any sun.

For Powerbarr, solving the inconvenience of your phone dying before the end of your day is matched by helping people make their lives more sustainable in an effort to create a better life.

So whether you are watching advertising at Lawrence Square or sipping coffee and soaking in the sun at Cafe Belong - turn your brightness on full, keep your location-based services on, and Tweet and Post to your hearts content...we have options in the city to keep our smartphones powered all day long.


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