We've featured a variety of solar powered cell phones over the last few years, but none quite as inexpensive as Indian manufacturer Micromax's X259, which will cost Rs. 2,499: about $45. It's no iPhone, but it has some pretty solid features: a 2.4" color screen, a camera, Bluetooth connectivity, radio capability, and a dual SIM setup.
The X259 can be charged via a wall socket, but the solar panel on the back of the phone can support 90 minutes of talk time for just three hours in the sun. That means it's practical for areas of India where power outages are frequent occurrences.The low price tag, though likely not quite cheap for low-income residents of those areas, should make this technology pretty accessible. Solar-powered micro grids are already changing the lives of some Indian villagers, so it's not a big leap to introduce a solar-powered phone.
Now to make solar charging a regular feature of phones in wealthier parts of the world, where cost isn't so much the issue as it is convincing consumers to get on board with using renewable energy to power their gadgets.