Goal Zero And AT&T Install Solar Charging Stations In New York

Goal Zero And AT&T Install Solar Charging Stations In New York

I play the street life
Because there’s no place I can go
Street life
It’s the only life I know
Street life
And there’s a thousand cards to play
Street life
Until you play your life away

So go the lyrics to Randy Crawford’s fantastic Street Life, which is not — as far as I know — the official song of AT&T and Goal Zero’s new “collabo” Street Charge.

Street Charge is a new scheme which will see AT&T deploying solar charging stations throughout New York City.

The first station launches today at Fort Green Park, and will be arriving in Brooklyn Bridge Park, Coney Island, Riverside Park, Rockaways, Summerstage in Central Park, Randall’s Island, Governor’s Island, Union Square, and Hudson River Park in the coming weeks.

The stations are fairly straightforward. They sprout from the ground like trees, and have a helicopter-like three-blade assembly on top which holds the solar panels. Inside is a battery which lets you use it through periods of dull weather or at night (because you totally want to be hanging out in a NYC park charging your expensive cellphone at night), and the three little tables each have two USB outputs. Of the six USB ports, three are naked USB holes, plus one each of Lightning, 30-pin dock and microUSB. Not that anyone will use the last one, as Android users can totally swap out their batteries amirite?

It’s a fantastic idea, and one which we can probably expect to see in more and more public places, especially bars and waiting areas. The PDF promo brochure promises that it will “creat[e] spaces for people to congregate,” but I can’t really think of anything more sad than a group of people “congregating” in order to stare into their screens and ignore each other. Losers.

What I do like is that this uses solar power, although the resources used to build and deploy these street-ready appliances probably far outweigh their benefits if you compare it to just plugging in to an existing power socket in a bar.

  • Jonathan Ober

    I’ve been to NYC, the streets are already crowded with people going places. I hope that these stations aren’t out in the busiest of downtown streets where people will be blocking the road just to get a charge. Someone needs to invent some kind of charger based of the movements/walking/running of people. That would be money!

  • lwdesign1

    This doesn’t make much sense to me. Is a person supposed to hang around and wait for half an hour guarding his/her phone while it charges? With iPhone theft a major crime source in NYC, it would be silly to leave your phone unattended while it charges, or even walk a few feet from the charging station. A dedicated thief would have easy pickings by simply walking up to a charging station pretending he/she wanted to charge a phone, then quickly grabbing one or two and sprinting away. Is there some method to lock the phone in place so this can’t happen?

  • RyanTV

    I’ve been to NYC, the streets are already crowded with people going places. I hope that these stations aren’t out in the busiest of downtown streets where people will be blocking the road just to get a charge. Someone needs to invent some kind of charger based of the movements/walking/running of people. That would be money!

    They are deploying these in parks, not in the middle of Madison Avenue.

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Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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