Image via Mobile Crunch
It's been awhile since we've heard about solar powered cell phones. Perhaps the short days of winter were enough to keep manufacturers from announcing new solar gadgets, but now that the days are getting longer, it seems we are starting to see them again. The latest was just announced at Mobile World Congress -- it's the Umeox Apollo, which runs on Android. Mobile Crunch reports that while it's the first Android phone with solar power features that is actually heading to manufacturing, there's no word on when or if it might be sold in the US. There are two models, including one that will work in Europe and most of Asia.
The phone takes about 2.5 hours of sunlight for refilling the battery after daily use, though as usual, it's likely you won't actually want to leave your phone in direct sunlight for that amount of time. More likely, you'll be getting a supplemental charge with 10-15 minutes here and there in between use. And, as Mobile Crunch reports, you really don't want to let the battery go completely dead since it takes a full 17 hours to recharge a battery from empty to full. You most certainly don't want your phone in direct sunlight for that long.
Whether or not these solar panel-sporting phones will actually take off is still questionable. Who really wants a solar panel on their phone? Who will leave it in the sun? How long will the panels last with getting banged around and scratched up in purses and pockets? As usual, we think it's much brighter to use a solar powered removable case, rather than installing panels directly on the phones. But as more manufacturers roll out models, we'll see if we're proven wrong.
Other than the nifty solar panel on the back of the case, the specifications include 1GB internal storage with a microSD card slot, a 3 megapixel rear camera, and FM Radio.
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