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Solar-powered handsets, anyone?

Posted: 18 Feb 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:solar power? green cellphone? solar panel?

Eco-friendly solar-powered cellphones are set to be one of the more light-hearted talking points at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain.

Samsung said Feb. 13 it would unveil what it claims is the world's first solar-powered phone, dubbed the Blue Earth.

Strangely enough, Chinese vendor ZTE in collaboration with mobile operator Digicel, and a Dutch startup, Intivation, are also planning "world's first" launches, the latter offering a "sensational world premiere and demonstration" of a low-cost solar-powered handset.

All are suggesting this is set to be a huge new market segment, especially in emerging markets.

Going green
The Blue Earth device has a solar panel located on the back of the phone, which Samsung claims can deliver enough power to allow users to make a call anytime, anywhere. The phone, designed with the aesthetics of a flat and rounded pebble in mind, is made from recycled plastic water bottles, in line with Samsung's green strategy. Thus, guaranteed to be free from nasty harmful substances such as brominated flame retardants, Beryllium and phthalates.

The charger is a 5 star energy efficient model which uses standby power lower than 0.03W, and the handset includes full touchscreen and an eco-friendly energy efficient mode, which reduces screen brightness and backlight duration.

Samsung says that with the "eco-walk" function with the built in pedometer, eco-warriors can count their steps and calculate how much carbon dioxide emissions they have saved by not driving.

As to the carbon neutral nature of the phone, Samsung is of course following in the footsteps of Motorola who, while it has other problems on its mind, last month unveiled a phone made from recycled water bottles. Dubbed the Moto W233 Renew the handset is said to be completely recyclable.

Motorola said it had reduced packaging for the phone by 22 percent. The Renew will be available through T-Mobile USA during Q1 09.

- John Walko
EE Times Europe

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