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Starbucks on the smartphone

Digitize your coffee-drinking life while thinning your wallet with this free app for Starbucks loyalists. Drink up!

Starbucks Card Mobile App means BlackBerry owners can carry around one less plastic loyalty card in their wallets. Log in with your Starbucks Card username and password, or register a new account, and you'll be able to manage multiple prepaid cards from your smartphone.

Better yet, when credit threatens to dip below your latte threshold, you can top up your Starbucks Card by charging your credit card. The app lets you reload value from $10 to $100 (in $5 increments), and can also set up autocharging so you're never without a means to your caffeine buzz.

The app's store-locator feature is handy, but the best feature--paying with the app--is available only in select Starbucks stores in Seattle and Northern California, and in some trial Target stores. When you do find a participating location, the app will produce a bar code for the cashier to scan.

We successfully loaded credit onto our empty Starbucks card and produced a bar code, and we're looking forward to Starbucks expanding its trial to other stores. While remotely increasing the prepaid balance is a nice perk, the app's real value is in payment.

When it came down to the way this simple app did its business, we did have a minor nit to pick: we wish that all number fields were smart enough to translate letter submissions into numbers when pressing the shared number/letter keys on BlackBerrys with physical keyboards. Other than that, Starbucks loyalists should snap up this app on their mobile phones--and then order a cuppa.

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