A few days ago Samsung India launched world's first mobile phone that could also be power via solar power (see the report on The Hindu). At first take this is good news. I had always wanted this, and it is good to know that a leading company is perusing it and that too in a low end market... The mobile will cost below 3000 INR, which is less costly but obviously far from being the cheapest mobile phones available. If they could really make it cheap, it will sell, for sure.
If we peel of the "worlds first" marketing phrase and come down to actual product specs and its availability, it really does not appear to be that great, though it is definitely a first step. Apparently this is currently only available in Indian market, I wonder why not Oz too, as there is heavy promotion of using solar and alternative sources of energy here as is in India. The only issue I see is, while back in India its more of a necessity to have solar power, in Oz it is more of an option. Another drawback is the specs itself: to get a talk time of 5-10 mins you would need to recharge under sun for one full hour, and to get it fully charged you need 40 hrs of sunlight! This is quite ridiculous. Apart from the fact that you will never have 40 hours of sunlight at a stretch (which means you can never completely rely on solar power), in most cases you would need to make a call when your battery is almost dead .. to wait 1 hr to make that important call is something that does not cut in as a selling point!
But even so, I just like this idea and unit. If they introduce it in Oz market, I will most likely grab it and use it as a secondary backup cell phone to my E51.
I just hope, that there are more innovative products in this space. I also wonder if one day we can have a solar powered Simputer with 3G access, that would be the day when I can conveniently kiss a good bye to my netbook ...
(PS: I was unable to find the actual product specs from Samsung India website: http://www.samsung.com/in/. Views above are based on reports in the media about the specs of Samsung Guru 1107)