June 8, 2006 With the global installed base for mobile phones, PDAs, personal multimedia players ad infinitum growing at the rate of a few billion a year, and the world’s reliance on said devices increasing at an even greater rate, it appears there is ample room for new business models catering for emergency power/charging. A particularly novel approach to recharging mobile devices is set to roll out in the UK this month and we think it’ll be worth watching because if the business model works, it’s likely to be replicated everywhere else in short order. The new business operates kiosks in public places that recharge mobile phones and iPods for UKP1.00 (US$1.85). The ChargeBox kiosks recharge mobile devices in a secure locker and will soon become a familiar sight at locations such as airports, railway stations, cinemas, shopping centres and festivals. The kiosks will accept both cash and SMS payments and will be able to charge up to twenty four different brands of phones as well as iPods, BlackBerries and PDAs with the connectivity options continually updated to accomodate the latest models and trends.
Users will lock their devices inside the ChargeBox with a simple key interface. They will be able to leave them to charge and return at their own convenience.
The first machines will be sited at UK-based locations such as easyInternetcafes, Novotel hotels, Road Chef, Vodafone stores, the Carphone Warehouse and various airports. One hundred ChargeBoxes are being launched this month but BoxBrands has ambitions to have over 1000 in the UK by the end of the year.