It seems Samsung and Apple have been tossing around the idea of bringing solar power into their laptops and other electronic devices. There have been talk of them incorporating a Taiwan-based solar power firm into their supply chain, but these businesses need more time to develop a plan before implementing it into their design.
Samsung currently has a few gadgets on the market that use solar energy. The “Blue Earth” and “Crest Solar” phones, released in 2009, both have solar panels on the back that can give it a quick charge if it’s dying and you need to make a quick call. The “Replenish” Android model can also come with an optional solar lid on the back of it. The NC215S is also scheduled to make an appearance next month, a netbook with a solar panel across the lid.
Apple has showed interest several times in creating gadgets using solar power. In 2006, they applied for a patent titled “Solar Cells on Portable Devices.” In 2008 they applied for 2 additional patents, one related to circuitry and one related to touch screens and the ability to give solar panels more surface area. In 2009, they were granted a patent for a solar-powered device that would charge various types of electronics.
It is still unknown how these cells will work after long periods of use, and whether or not they will wear down and lose their power over time. According to the makers of the sheets of printable solar cells, they stayed intact even after being scuffed around and crumbled up, so here’s to hoping a solar panel can be created that is durable enough for an electronic device and efficient enough to create a strong, lasting charge.
Would you buy a solar-powered phone or laptop?