Friday, February 13, 2009

Samsung's Eco-Friendly, Solar-Powered, Touchscreen Cellphone

Kit Eaton/February 13, 2009

Samsung's Blue Earth is the first solar-powered all-touchscreen smartphone. The device even takes energy saving a bit further with a built-in "eco-mode" system.

This system sets low screen backlight brightness and duration with a single click, and switches the Bluetooth module into a special "low consumption" mode. There's also a built-in pedometer and some associated software that translates the distance you've walked into equivalent CO2 savings versus making the journey in a vehicle--it even presents the data in the number of trees you've saved.

The real jewel though is its solar panel, that takes up the rear face of the phone. It's powerful enough to let users "call anytime anywhere." This sort of implies that you can use the phone on solar-power alone to make a call, if you find it with a flat battery. In regular use of course you'd simply leave the phone somewhere sunny to top up its internal battery charge. The Blue Earth does come with a conventional wall-wart charger, but it's actually a five-star energy efficient one with less than 0.03 watts consumption in stand-by mode.

Meanwhile the body of the phone is made of a material called "PCM," a plastic made from recovered water bottles--much like the much more conventional-looking, but similarly eco-friendly Nokia Renew available from T-Mobile recently. And the entire electronics package, including the charger, is free from "harmful substances" like phthlates, beryllium and flame retardants. The cellphone's packaging is even designed to be small and light and is made from recycled paper, all contributing to lowering the carbon footprint associated with the device's sale and distribution.

Data on the phone's specifications is lacking, but it looks to be typical. It features a 3-inch screen, with a rear-facing digital camera.

All cellphones will mostly likely become more eco-friendly, considering the millions of cellphones that end up trashed every year--jam-packed full of chemicals, and plastics that go to waste.

Blue Earth is just one of the many smartphones that Samsung will reveal at the upcoming Mobile World Congress, but it's the only one that's eco-friendly. It makes you wonder though: If Samsung has the technology to make the Blue Earth right now, then surely it could apply it to its other cameraphones and smartphones too?

See the original article here

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