Skip to main content

Japan's Waterproof, Solar Powered Cell Phone

One of the most distressing things (at least for those of us who need to be connected at all times) is having a cell phone battery die without a charger or power source nearby.

Japanese mobile carrier KDDI and Sharp plan to roll out a cell phone this summer that will be able to charge the battery using solar energy.

According to the press release, 10 minutes in the light will grant the user one minute of talk time or two hours of standby. Using just solar energy, the phone can be charged up to 80 percent of full battery capacity.

The phone, set to release this summer, is also waterproof. Sounds like something the passengers of Oceanic 815 could really appreciate… if there were cell phone towers on mysterious disappearing islands, that is.

  • geminireaper
    Lets see how many phones get melted from being left directly in the sun on a 100 degree day on a dark surface.
  • Sounds cool, just don't outsource this to the ch1nks in china else you can leave out the 'waterproof' part.

    And the 'durability' part as well.
  • Sounds cool, just don't outsource to the chinks else you can say goodbye to the 'waterproof' part.

    and the 'durability' part as well.
  • squatchman
    I dunno, this sounds like a phone that you can't keep in your pocket.
  • hillarymakesmecry
    Good idea.
  • WheelsOfConfusion
    I think I can still find solar-charger back panels that fit my old Nokia 6610. Waterproofing isn't such an issue for me, but I can see that if someone leaves their phone out to charge and it rains.
  • theJ
    They'll probably tack on an extra $100 because of the solar recharging, when that feature might save you $5 over the course of a year from wall jack recharging. And that's assuming you always charge from the sun.

    Nah, that's not worth it.

    Now, the waterproofing part, that's interesting...
  • solymnar
    Its not the idea that cell phone, water proofing or solar charging hasn't existed prior. Its that a company blended into a small form factor without involving accessories that need to be carried around or cases that need to be applied which often hamper the original function.

    Doing this makes it far more likely to actually be used.

    The simple point that they achieved an efficient enough standby mode that it gains battery power while on in the sun despite such a small amount of surface available is impressive.

    Of course...if its other characteristics are not up to par or its price is massive, or if the solar cell array has a short lifespan/low durability then everything becomes moot. Still its a nice step in a good direction.

    Would make sense to get a clear pocket that clips to belt, brief, backpack, armband etc. to keep it in the sun when out and about thus maximizing exposure I would imagine.
  • thundercleese
    Hurray for LOST references! We never have enough of those!
  • idisarmu
    I want one.

    If it was a satellite phone though, that would be even better.