Rumor: Apple and Samsung looking into making solar-powered devices

Could one of the smartphones or tablets that you buy in the future be powered up by solar energy? According to a story at Digitimes a couple of companies are looking into solar technology for use in upcoming products. The story, which cites unnamed sources, says that both Apple and Samsung are evaluating solar technology. However the article adds that this kind of power might not be used anytime soon.

The story says that Samsung is leading the way with an upcoming solar powered laptop which "adopts a unique sized solar cell". However the story says, " ... the number of solar cells used is less than rooftop solar systems, hence it is unlikely for solar-powered consumer products to form a solid market in the short term." Some firms are apparently developing a type of "organic photovoltaic cell" that could be used in products. One issue is the percentage of energy conversion. A company called Solarmer has developed a solar cell that has a 8.13 percent conversion rate compared to other efforts that have between 5 and 7 percent rates.

Of course there are a number of third party companies that have offered to give iPhone, iPad and other portable electronic devices an extra energy charge via solar cells. Some of these products work in sunlight only but others can also use indoor lighting to charge their products. It remains to be see if companies such as Apple will embrace solar energy with first party add-on products rather than let third parties take over.

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16 Comments

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Well they would need to insulate the internals(battery/electronics), and this would increase the cost and the thickness. Unlikely for Apple.

I dunno, I would think you wouldn't want your device exposed to that much heat personally. I much prefer the research being done in charging your phone from ambient noise...

ahhell said,
Just because it's solar that doesn't mean it only charges off the sun. It will charge off any light source.
No. You need to like go learn about solar power, and how it works.

It's already been done by Samsung (Blue Earth) - honestly I can't wait until Apple implements solar panels on the iPhone and calls it an industry first. Everything Apple has done in the iPhone was already done by another manufacturer before. There is really nothing innovative coming from Apple - I don't see why people get hyped into their marketing bull****.

tsupersonic said,
It's already been done by Samsung (Blue Earth) - honestly I can't wait until Apple implements solar panels on the iPhone and calls it an industry first. Everything Apple has done in the iPhone was already done by another manufacturer before. There is really nothing innovative coming from Apple - I don't see why people get hyped into their marketing bull****.

+1

tsupersonic said,
It's already been done by Samsung (Blue Earth) - honestly I can't wait until Apple implements solar panels on the iPhone and calls it an industry first. Everything Apple has done in the iPhone was already done by another manufacturer before. There is really nothing innovative coming from Apple - I don't see why people get hyped into their marketing bull****.

Well at least Apple has the marketing clout; if they can pull it off and flood the market with this, that'll be the incentive other companies need to follow suit, and in the end we all win. As much as I despise Apple, I hope they go ahead with this.

who else can say..... about ****ing time.... solar powered tech has been out for a while (e.g. solar powered phone chargers) but for some odd reason i can see them slapping an extra 50 on top of the price just for this it is a good idea and will be really useful (unless night time )

also assuming that it will be more of a trickle charge and will only prolong the battery by 20-40 mins depending on useage so when it dies you will have to leave it in sun for 2 days to get like 40% battery ... either way for a small amount of convenience i see massive price hike ... and once again... its about time and i am looking forward to it despite the cons

WarioTBH said,
I would be very interested in having a phone that is solar powered
Agreed, I doubt it would be able to power the device by itself, but any noticeable battery life extension would be great.