MWC 2009: Digicel Coral-200-Solar – a phone that people actually need
While we’re all busy crying because we don’t have a 200-megapixel camera and our phones don’t support native access to the Hubble telescope, a company by the name of Digicel has gone and done something decent at MWC 2009 by announcing a phone for people who don’t have much access to electricity.
The Digicel Coral-200-Solar, as the name might suggest, is a handset with solar panels fitted, as you should be able to see in the miniscule image just over there to the right. I would have got you a bigger one but, er, well, I couldn’t. Not a lot of word on the specs but then I don’t suppose that’s the issue here.
Suffice to say, the screen looks pretty small and probably unable to play HD content which doubtless will be the deal breaker for all of those living in Sierra Leone. The handset will be available all over the world from most major networks as soon as Chinese parent company ZTE can knock them out.
More info (but not much)
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“Not a lot of word on the specs but then I don’t suppose that’s the issue here.”
Umm, yeah, it is an issue. Do you honestly think a solar panel that size will really make a dent in that phone’s battery life? I own a Solio, which has 3 such panels, and it takes a full 8 hours to fully charge the internal batteries to capacity (and that’s assuming it’s sitting in full sunlight the entire time at the optimal angle). Also consider that most consumers don’t usually have their phones laying prostrate on a table all the time. More than likely, their mobiles will reside in their pockets, purses, etc. where the sun doth not shine. Kinda defeats the purpose, doesn’t it?
The specs aren’t the issue but how well the solar panels function may well be. There’s a lot of full sunlight in the kind of places that these handsets are intended for and if there’s little in the way of electricity in the first place, anything solar power is a very good a start.
I’m sorry to hear that your model doesn’t work very well. Until any of us have used this latest version, we can only hope they’ve managed to solve some of the problems and find more efficient materials for capturing solar energy.