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World's 1st solar-powered phone goes on display


Samsung unveiled the world's first solar-powered mobile phone at an industry show here on Monday where the sector is showcasing the new technology it hopes will drive demand through the economic crisis.

The South Korean manufacturer put its "Blue Earth" phone on display in front of curious crowds at Mobile World Congress, with industry insiders keen to see the mini solar panels located on the back of the phone.

"This type of device would be ideal for developing markets where workers have long hours and don't have access to electricity," commented Nick Lane, chief researcher at consultancy Direct2 Mobile.

"It would also interest consumers with an eye on the 'green' aspects, or companies and their CSR (corporate social responsibility) programs."

The device is to be launched initially in Europe in the second half of 2009 but is likely to be out of the price range of a worker in the developing world. A Samsung representative said it would be a mid to high-end handset.

A full charge taking 10-14 hours in the sun would offer about four hours of talk time. The phone can also be plugged in to charge, with the solar panels used to top up the battery to extend its power.

Fellow South Korean manufacturer LG Electronics also put a prototype solar-powered phone on display although the handset is not ready for market.

LG showcased a mobile phone-enabled watch, which it said was a world first.

The Mobile World Congress, which runs from Monday to Thursday, is the world's biggest mobile phone show and is set to bring together 60,000 industry insiders from 1,200 companies, according to the organizers, the GSM Association.

As well as the launches and new industry initiatives, the economic crisis has cast a pall over the gathering with cost-cutting the new concern of an industry that has become accustomed to constant growth.

Nevertheless, the chief executive of Russia's Vimpelcom operator, Alexander Izosimov, sought to stress the rosy future of the industry as a whole despite the morose economic climate.

"We are dealing with something that is absolutely guaranteed to expand in the future," he told reporters. "Our growth (as an industry) is absolutely secured."

The chief executive of China Mobile, the biggest Chinese network operator, said that his company had felt the impact of the financial crisis, but he underlined the recession-resistant nature of providing phone connections.

"Even in difficult times, people need to use their mobile phones," CEO Wang Jianzhou told reporters.

All the major network operators such as Vodafone, MTN or Telefonica were present, as well as the major handset makers -- including new entrant Acer, a Taiwanese manufacturer better known for making computers.

Acer unveiled its first range of phones, with the first four high-end models set to go on sale in March or April and another six handsets to follow, marketing manager Sylvia Pan said.

The touch-screen phones were demonstrated mostly in black with a design that resembles the top-selling Apple iPhone.

The move illustrates two trends in the mobile phone industry: the growing attractiveness of the high-end market for "smart phones" and the arrival of traditional laptop computer makers in this segment.

Software giant Microsoft and Finnish handset maker Nokia also announced their responses to the phenomenal success of Apple's AppStore.

Apple launched the AppStore last July, enabling users of its high-end iPhone to download new applications for their devices. The 500,000th download was celebrated at the end of January.

Microsoft hit back with its "Windows Marketplace for Mobile," while Nokia unveiled its "Ovi Store." Both offer the same service as the AppStore, which allows users to personalise their phones with tailored applications.

Like Apple, Microsoft and Nokia will allow outside developers to write applications that can be downloaded on their sites.

In other news Monday, Google got a boost when Chinese manufacturer Huawei revealed only the second mobile phone to integrate the U.S. company's mobile phone operating system called Android.

Rival developers are battling to create the dominant operating system for mobile phones, with Google competing with Microsoft, Nokia and an open-source Linux-based project.

The first phone to use Android was launched last year in October, the G1, made by Taiwan-based group HTC in partnership with German network operator T-Mobile.

© Wire reports

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.

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Perfect for Finland in winter.

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10-14 hours to charge? Who gets that much direct sun? Plus, won`t a hot summer sun melt the thing?

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I'm sure no NEETs will buy this one. Depends on how well it charges solely from the light of an LCD.

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10-14 hours is enough to charge 4 hours of talk. For reasonable folks who only talk 15-30 minutes a day at most, it should be easy to keep the phone charged.

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This is an incredible solution for those who have an office with access to the sunny side, just leave your cell phone by the window and by the time you finish your shift it will be fully charged. Imagine being far outdoors and having no way to charge your cell phone? Solar power is a fantastic solution. I'm waiting for this phone to become available in Japan and will get it as soon as it hits the market. Cheers for Samsung :)

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I'm very curious about the price. the silicon solar cells are still damn expensive

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Come on Japanese phone makers! Respond to the Samsung challenge and create even better solar powered keitai, and if you build in a compass and make it water proof then you will get most outdoor enthusiasts extremely interested in your product. The first mobile company that puts such a phone into their lineup will have me switching from softbank and signing a contract with them without second thoughts....

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10-14 hours to charge? Who gets that much direct sun? Plus, won`t a hot summer sun melt the thing?

we do, i live in a desert with almost no clouds nor rain

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My mobile's usually in my pocket during the day. I imagine it see's little sunshine, even in mid summer!

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10-14 hrs to charge,too long, but is good start.

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perfect for under the sun kind of jobs. good job samsung.

will they be making a wind powered phone too? its pretty windy here.

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Clearly the biggest impact will be in certain developing countries where there is limited access to a consistent electricity supply. It may be great in Tanzania, but utterly useless in Niigata.

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Wow! Only 10-14 hours to charge, now if they'd just make a cheap alternate phone I could use while my solar phone is charging....

Now if you really want innovation, make a cellphone that works like a solar powered calculator. No batteries just a source of light needed.

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