Upcoming Debut of Sharp’s Solar Powered Cell Phone
One of today’s most common tech devices, cell phones, is getting an environmentally friendly upgrade.
Cell phones have become such an integrated part of modern life that it makes sense to separate them from the power grid in order to reduce the amount of power plant electricity that they use. Cell phones are all about mobility. Plugging them in at night is contrary to their very purpose. Until now, though, the nightly plug-in has been necessary for many cell phone owners.
In June 2009, Sharp will unveil the first cell phone that is powered by solar energy. The release has already grabbed the attention of technology writers, many of whom believe that solar cell phones will soon be as common as solar powered calculators.
Sharp developed the new phone with KDDI, a Japanese mobile network provider.
Small Solar Panel Powers Majority of Phone Use
The phone uses a small solar panel that snaps onto the device’s lid. The phone’s sleek design hardly suggests that it is at the forefront of mobile solar panel technology. It certainly does not have one of those bulky metal plates that are often located on roofs. But information from various sources such as GearLive and PCWorld state that ten minutes in the sun should provide enough energy for one minute of talk time or two hours of standby time.
It is estimated that 80 percent of the phone’s power will come from solar energy.
Media Mentions of Sharp’s Solar Powered Phone
The solar energy-powered phone, which is also waterproof, has not only been mentioned on numerous blogs, but also NPR’s All Things Considered. All sources indicate that the phone will only be released in Japan. If the solar panel powered phone is successful in the Japanese market, though, it may soon make its way across the Pacific.
Could Solar Powered Cell Phones Become the Norm?
Solar cell powered phones may not save the environment on their own, but high sales could motivate designers to develop other consumer products that rely on small solar panels instead of electrical outlets. Solar lights are common today in parking lots and solar water heaters are becoming more common in residential and commercial areas, but in just a few years this technology could expand to the other items that we use daily without ever thinking about the amount of energy that they require.
Other cell phone manufacturers are already preparing their competition in the solar powered market. Some of the names include the Coral 200 Solar, which was made by a partnership of ZTE and Intivation, the Samsung Blue Earth, and the Commtiva Sola.
Sharp has not yet released the price of its solar powered, weatherproof phone.