first world problems – running out of smartphone charge while out and about

Ever had the problem where you’re running around and you’re also running out of smartphone battery? Wouldn’t it be nice to stop anywhere and easily charge it up a bit?

Here’s one solution I found at a local Target here in Orlando. First, it’s free, and that’s good. Unfortunately it can only handle eight at a time, so the holidays look a bit dicey. Looking inside those narrow windows, there’s exactly three connectors; one micro USB, one USB-C and one proprietary I didn’t recognize. So, you use the kiosk-style tablet in the middle to select a charging slot, open it up, plug in your smartphone, close it and then don’t forget your unlock code to get your phone back out.

I didn’t try it, but I did see someone come up to it and drop off a smartphone. It was reasonably fast and easy.

The two issues I have are practicality and security.

The practical is if you need to use your cellphone for shopping. I have the Target shopping app on my iPhone to scan for coupons as well as get what’s on sale. So there’s that issue. There’s also the issue of how to handle any texts or phone calls that might come in while it’s in the charging station that you might need to handle in a timely manner.

The security issue comes from the charging port, which for every modern smartphone is also the data port. What keeps those power plugs from sucking data clandestinely out of your phone? How do you know that they can’t immediately, or won’t wait for a bit before attempting to pillage your smartphone’s data?

Who knows if this will work or not? My two solutions are to carry a HooToo power brick I can plug my smartphone into when needed. The second is to minimize any power sucking activities while out. In other words no gaming and no video streaming. Because I’m an official Old Fart, most of the time I do something quaint, like read off my iPhone’s screen. Books, news articles, that kind of thing. Those activities consume the least power while helping me pass time if I’m waiting.