Review: Starbux Card
Sometimes my mind wanders, as it has this week when I decided to look for a coffee shop application for my Windows Phone. While the major chains don't have a presence on Windows Phone just yet, independent developer Denham Software Solutions has come up with an app called Starbux Card. With all the features of the first party apps, this is a smart piece of code that's pretty helpful for the Starbucks fan.
Version Reviewed: 220.127.116.11
It's important to stress that this is an unofficial application, so it doesn't have access to all of the functionality that a Starbucks-developed application could offer. What it does allow you to do is check your balance, pay for your drink, and find the nearest Starbucks to do all that.
This Windows Phone app, just as the apps for iOS and Android, works alongside your own physical Starbucks card, which you can pick up in any store.
These cards are registered to an online account, but if you'd rather not give those login details to a third party app, then you have the alternative of using just the long number and security code on the physical card card (and skip the information about your current rewards, which is only available if you log in). Once you have the card in the app, it will appear on the main screen. Tap on the card, and a full screen display of a virtual card back will appear on the screen, with a bar code in the centre.
This is read by the scanners at the till, and the cost of your drink will be taken from your card balance. A very simple solution, that bypasses all the issues with NFC based solutions. You can save multiple cards to the application, and if you want to be quick on the draw then each can be pinned as a live tile, where a quick tap will bring up the digital card.
The Starbux Card app can keep track of the monetary balance on your card, as well as the 'loyalty' reward points you have earned. One function the app does not allow you to do is add money to your card account - you'll need to do that either in-store or from a web browser.
The other major feature of the app is the store locator. Either through a search term in the box, or using the built-in GPS on the phone, you can locate the nearest Starbucks stores to you, with filters on what facilities they might have, e.g. if Wi-fi is available to customers, or if they are a drive-thru location - which isn't something that applies anywhere in Scotland!
As with most applications on Windows Phone that use the mapping function, you can call up directions from your present location to the store, and you can also mark your favourite stores in the map view as well.
Finally, the app has a small notepad function, which allows short text notes to be stored in the application. This might seem a bit superfluous, but if you're the sort of person who likes to work through all the recipes and drinks on offer (in various combinations) then it makes sense to keep track of them in the application rather than elsewhere on your smartphone.
Android and iOS are already provisioned nicely with Starbucks, and there's very little to stop them moving into the Windows Phone space. It's unlikely that they would pick up Denham's application over an in-house development team or an expensive external commission, but this shows what an official app would look like and hopefully the corporate version would be just as functional as Starbux.
Reviewed by Ewan Spence at