We're only human – even though we know our smartphones are basically a thin tether between us and the rest of reality at this point, we also keep forgetting the said tether runs on batteries.
Batteries run out of juice and need charge. Sometimes, we forget to pack them or we might forget to pack the right one. And then that might mean anything – getting lost or cutting an evening short.
Enter Y-Combinator-backed Doblet, a service that is rolling out to bars, restaurants and cafes that provides portable batteries for Android phones and the iPhone 5. Customers pay US$3 for a single one-time charge or they may elect to pay a US$30 annual subscription for unlimited charges.
A quick charge for a few bucks
First, customers download the Doblet app that lets them know the closest vendor for a charge. This means you'll need the foresight to look for chargers before your battery actually dies, but that's not a tall order. Then you arrive at the vendor and ask for a charge and you'll get it once you pay for the service through the Doblet app. You are then free to roam and may return the battery later.
Jeff Chan and Doktor Gurson cite two particular sources of inspiration that led to the realisation of this idea. In July, Stephen Colbert remarked on his show that he dreams of ambient phone charging. His guest then was Elon Musk who claimed he would work on it, but Chan and Gurson have beaten him to it.
Gurson was led to the idea when, at a bar, a stranger asked if he could borrow a phone charger to which Gurson replied “only if you pay me 2 dollars”. The stranger laughed and moved along. Later, he came back and told Gurson he bought a new charger for US$12 and said that he should've just paid the 2 dollars.
Doblet was soft-launched this weekend at three locations in San Francisco. Expect them to expand to 50 different locations around the city by the end of September.