Alcatel has confirmed that it will launch a new solar powered smartphone within the next 12 months, with the handset’s sun-loving panel to be built within its screen.
Bringing solar powered portable gadgets in to the modern era, the French phone manufacturer has showcased a concept solar phone that, instead of boasting an ugly light panel on its rear, builds a transparent solar panel within the phone’s touchscreen display.
“A couple of months ago we partnered with a company and said ‘let’s try make a transparent solar panel’,” Dan Dery, Alcatel’s Global Vice President of Marketing told TrustedReviews. “It seemed crazy but now we have a working prototype where we have put solar cells over the touchpanel of a display.”
Discussing the future of the battery-saving technology he added: “We are not going to market with the solar phone quite yet. It is probably going to take us another nine to 12 months in order to make sure that the efficiency of the panel is absolutely fine and the transparency level is ok.
“Today the transparency is not where we want it to be – you can see a slight layer on top – but we are trying to see if we can include this within 12 months.”
With battery life being one of the biggest ongoing concerns for smartphone users, Dery has suggested that the transparent solar panel technology could help revolutionise the market, offering added staying power and reducing the reliance on power connectors.
“If you ask consumers what is there major concern, it is often that they have to carry a charger with them to charge their phone and with LTE coming this is getting worse because the content we enjoy requires more power,” he said.
“The target for the solar phone is that in an indoor environment it should be able to maintain an idol current so your phone battery is not depleting, outdoor under the sun it should charge, those are the targets we have.”
The Alcatel VP added: “We are not too far away from this efficiency but currently not quite there. I think we are the only one in the world to demonstrate that.”
While there are concerns this new technology will add a premium to any handset’s price tag, Dery has reassured that the company’s solar powered phone will not dent your wallet.
“If this would require us to bring the phone to a crazy price we would not do that,” he told us. “Everything is about what we can do for normal consumers, those who are not ready to spend $600 every year for a new phone.”
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