bit-tech.net

Samsung to launch solar phone

Samsung to launch solar phone

Samsung's new Blue Earth handset includes dual solar panels on the rear to give it eco-friendly juice on the go.

Green technology is all the rage these days, but portable gadgets have been lagging behind the curve. Samsung is hoping to redress the balance with its new Blue Earth eco-friendly handset.

Shown over on CNet, the new handset is designed with integrated solar panels to keep it ticking over on the go without costing the earth – although it requires that the rear of the unit it facing the sun for extended periods, of course. The casing continues the ecological theme, being made of recycled water bottles and free from nasties such as brominated flame retardants and beryllium.

The device itself is a full touch-screen smartphone, with a user interface – above an as-yet unconfirmed operating system – which aims to highlight the impact one has on our environment. To this end, Samsung has included a pedometer as part of the unit – and software which will calculate the saving in your carbon footprint compared to the same journey in a car.

The handset is due to début at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, at which time we should learn a few more details – including the overall specifications, memory, and which frequencies it supports – alongside pricing information. It will also be interesting to see how tough the touch screen is – if the device is due to spend a lot of its time face-down so its solar panels can get their dose of light, the front is going to need some serious scratch protection to remain intact.

Is this the sort of eco-friendly advance that you'd like to see more of in your portable devices, or are solar panels redundant on the back of a device that spends most of its time in your pocket? Share your thoughts over in the forums.

27 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Ninja_182 16th February 2009, 15:29 Quote
Is it just me that keeps my phone in my pocket all day or face up on my desk then holds it with my palm covering the rear? Or dont people do that in the east?
eldiablo 16th February 2009, 15:30 Quote
Im especially curious about the time it takes to charge the battery indoors with no natural light sources. If it would be possible to charge the phone by just putting it on my desk while im at work it would be great if i would never have to use my charger anymore.
Also arent most phone's supposed to not be exposed to direct sunlight? What about this one?

Looking forward to some reviews of these kind of phones.
proxess 16th February 2009, 15:47 Quote
Curious device. I bet they'll ship these with full alloy protection cases made with all the bad materials they didn't use on the phone just to protect it.
War-Rasta 16th February 2009, 16:01 Quote
Sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it'll work for people who are on the go all day. If you can just sit it on your desk and let it charge the it'll be great but if you're outside you'll probably have it your pocket where it won't get much/any sunlight. I guess you could probably have it in one of those pockets that some backpack have on the shoulder strap. If the front of the pocket is transparent it should work fine i guess.
Farting Bob 16th February 2009, 16:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by
A marketing gimmick and nothing more IMO.
markwalker84 16th February 2009, 16:52 Quote
Well aren't you a bunch of miserable, cynical sods! lol

Good on Samsung for trying something;

a) Different
b) Innovative
c) For a good cause
teamtd11 16th February 2009, 16:58 Quote
This could be quite usefull, my phone just sits on my desk all day. and then when i do go some place the battery dies cos its been so long since it was charged.
HourBeforeDawn 16th February 2009, 18:00 Quote
Its about time, I was wondering when they would finally do this, they need to also do this with laptops as well.

Lol guys havent you ever been somewhere and forgot your charger or out in the middle of no where and you car breaks down, or out a job site, or a long night on the town, come on I can name hundreds of times that I wish my phone could have this to recharge so it wouldnt be dead, this is the perfect solution. :)
alpaca 16th February 2009, 18:24 Quote
laptops would be weird, i do not think there is any chance you could generate enough power to keep a laptop powered on in a sufficient small package... and for a reasonable price.
HourBeforeDawn 16th February 2009, 18:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by alpaca
laptops would be weird, i do not think there is any chance you could generate enough power to keep a laptop powered on in a sufficient small package... and for a reasonable price.

no not to keep it powered but for recharge purposes, it would also help to extend some battery life as some load could be sent to the solar panels.
perplekks45 16th February 2009, 19:00 Quote
Why does alternative quite often mean ugly? XP style was good for 2001 [if ever].
HourBeforeDawn 16th February 2009, 19:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by perplekks45
Why does alternative quite often mean ugly? XP style was good for 2001 [if ever].

well if Im understanding what your referring to, I think the phone looks great.
nitrous9200 16th February 2009, 19:16 Quote
For a "green" product, this phone actually looks very nice, better than some normal phones that are out there.
proxess 16th February 2009, 20:16 Quote
In shopping centres here in Portugal, they have these little machines with all imaginary charger types, all you have to do is stand next to the machine for 10mins with your phone plugged in and you'll have enough juice for a few more hours.
n3mo 16th February 2009, 20:28 Quote
Yeah, this is *really* going to help, given that my house uses at least ~10 kW at all times, twice that during winter. Marketing gimmick, but can be useful sometimes.
NightrainSrt4 16th February 2009, 21:25 Quote
I find it funny how whenever something like this comes out people always attack its usefulness, yet when nothing like it is on the market the masses beg for it.

Stop looking at the solar panels as the sole way to power the device, and look at it as an auxiliary means to keep that charge going.
Icy EyeG 16th February 2009, 21:32 Quote
mmm it would be a great addition to my solar powered wrist watch...

It really has great looks, but seems a bit too large though.
HourBeforeDawn 16th February 2009, 21:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by NightrainSrt4
I find it funny how whenever something like this comes out people always attack its usefulness, yet when nothing like it is on the market the masses beg for it.

Stop looking at the solar panels as the sole way to power the device, and look at it as an auxiliary means to keep that charge going.

I agree, I mean come on, no one here who is complaining never found them selves with out a charger for their phone? and their phone about to die, this is where they would stop complaining and wish they had this option as a way to charge their phone.
rtype02 16th February 2009, 22:04 Quote
sounds like a waste of money if you ask me - I'd rather them spend some $$ on something useful like a taser phone or somethign haha
wafflesomd 16th February 2009, 23:49 Quote
Carbon footprint.

Oh shut up already.
The_Beast 16th February 2009, 23:55 Quote
pretty cool but my phone is in my pocket most of the day anyways
Xir 17th February 2009, 09:03 Quote
Quote:
free from nasties such as brominated flame retardants and beryllium

...well SOME form of flame retardant is obigatory for the CE mark...right?

There are MANY solar chargers out there as accesoires, so why not an integrated one? I like the idea.
Beein fit to a smartphone though...the "high-end" market isn't really the one leeding an away-from-a-powersource type of life.
perplekks45 17th February 2009, 16:18 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by wafflesomd
Carbon footprint.

Oh shut up already.
QFT.
Cupboard 17th February 2009, 17:58 Quote
I would much prefer to have a detachable panel so I could put it somewhere useful, otherwise it is really silly.
Something like they have in perpetual motion watches would be a much better idea.
Confused Fishcake 19th February 2009, 00:05 Quote
Gimmick, it'd take a fair few hours in full sun for more than a second or two of charge. The only way a solar panel would be feasible would be an ultra-low power phone with a small greyscale screen, certainly not a smartphone. Smartphones use an enormous amount of power, even with 100% efficient panels solar power will not be practical, the sun just doesn't give enough energy to the ~50 centimetres squared back.
HourBeforeDawn 19th February 2009, 00:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Confused Fishcake
the sun just doesn't give enough energy to the ~50 centimetres squared back.

Dumb quote of the day.... lol the sun doesnt give enough energy lol that made me laugh, I think what you meant to say is that current solar cell technology does not absorb enough of the suns spectrum to take full advantage of the immense amount of power that is released but they are getting closer and closer, so the tech is in our near future. :)
Confused Fishcake 19th February 2009, 01:16 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
Quote:
Originally Posted by Confused Fishcake
the sun just doesn't give enough energy to the ~50 centimetres squared back.

Dumb quote of the day.... lol the sun doesnt give enough energy lol that made me laugh, I think what you meant to say is that current solar cell technology does not absorb enough of the suns spectrum to take full advantage of the immense amount of power that is released but they are getting closer and closer, so the tech is in our near future. :)

Not what I meant, just saying even with 100% efficient panels theres not a great deal of energy available for a solar panel with the footprint of a phone. Assuming 200 watts per metre squared in full sunlight (Seems common figure in western europe), and ~50cm squared back of phone (generous, and thats assuming complete coverage of back), thats about a watt. Smartphones tend to draw ~3W while charging, but no matter, that seems like a slow charge at least. Factor in angle of the sun in the sky, cloud cover, minimum power to boot modern phones, a perfect solar panel will at best give a minute or two of emergency calls. This is at best an emergency backup, leaving a phone in the right angle for hours just isn't practical. If you must have an emergency backup, get a low power second phone, or a wind up charger that works at night. I cannot see a practical use for solar panels in consumer phones, this looks like one in a long line of impractical planet saving devices. (Completely for renewable sources of power, but this is silly)
Log in

You are not logged in, please login with your forum account below. If you don't already have an account please register to start contributing.



Discuss in the forums