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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