One of the few things I enjoy about CeBIT is the possibility of stumbling upon an innovative piece of technology that doesn't come from the usual multinationals. In 2007 I again got my wish.
On a small stand in Hall 23 I stumbled upon Hi-Tech Wealth, a Chinese firm which has come up with one of the best implementations of solar panels I've seen to date.
Called the 'Light-Energy Mobile Phone', it is a relatively slender clamshell with an 84 x 47.6 x 0.8mm solar panel built into the flip side. This provides the handset with a remarkable 25 minutes of talk time from just 40 minutes of charging in sunlight, it can be charged with indoor light when no direct sunshine is available and even candlelight. Best of all, Hi-Tech Wealth told me that if left on standby, the handset is theoretically self sufficient.
As for the practicalities of putting such a handset on the market Hi-Tech said the panel is encased in toughened glass and would stand up to all the rigours of a regular mobile. It also claimed the panel has a low manufacturing cost.
Of course, in a perfect world all mobile devices would come with a small solar strip enabling permanent standby but the big issue is the gap between such a fantastic sounding concept and its time to market. Still, such demos are what keeps me coming back to CeBIT so I guess that means I'll be back next year... doh!