Nokia is seemingly testing a solar powered phone these days in different conditions from different parts of the globe. They put four of their C1-02 devices, each having an attached solar panel and sent them to Kenya, the Arctic Circle, Sweden and to a boat on the Baltic Sea.
These phones’ users are also different. The phone in Kenya is being tested by a security officer, in Utsjoki, at the Arctic Circle, by a research technician, by a 16-year old scout girl in Sweden and by a sailor on the Baltic sea. All of these phones have a piece of hardware that records how they’re being used and how much the solar cell counts to the overall charging process.
Now, the intention on Nokia’s side is good, but the usual habits of cell phone users restrain the access to sunlight (i.e. most of us keep phones in our pockets). So they’re likely to get charged during our lunch breaks, when we sit at a terrace sipping a cup of coffee. There’s no way I’d leave my phone in full sun on the beach while I go swimming, or in other unattended circumstances.
Samsung did try this experiment with a few phone models in recent years, but they haven’t proved being of much use. Besides going out in some camp, and being totally stranded in the middle of nowhere, I see no real use taking care of a solar cell and paying extra for it. The only way Nokia, Samsung or any other phone manufacturer will succeed with this is by unobtrusively embedding the solar cell so that it doesn’t add up significantly to the device’s weight or width. Not all people are born green-blooded and you have to adapt to all kinds of tastes, not only one purpose.