Smartphones Green Up Their Act
The Mobile World Congress was a font of environmental innovation, recycling, and sustainable technology, from solar-powered cell phones, energy-efficient handset displays, to earth-friendly mobile applications.
Samsung made a splash with its new solar-powered handset, Blue Earth, which sports a Pepsi-blue, pebble-shaped touchscreen with solar panels that take up the full back side of the phone. Outdoors, the panels should recharge the battery enough to extend talk time significantly. Samsung has built an Eco Mode into the phone, which saves energy by adjusting the brightness of the screen and shutting down Bluetooth. The handset itself is built from used water bottles (much like the Motorola Renew W233), contains zero toxic chemicals, is packaged in recycled materials, and comes with a function that displays how much CO2 you've saved by walking to your destinations (which may just be a step too much). It looks fantastic. Now if we could just get some specs and pricing info.
In a more utilitarian vein, Chinese manufacturer ZTE has worked with Digicel to create the Coral-200- Solar. The handset is geared to some 2 billion potential cellphone users who have limited access to power grids. The Coral-200-Solar also has an integrated solar charger so it doesn't require an outlet. Digicel will release the Coral-200-Solar to selected markets starting in June.
In the spirit of working together, LG Electronics is collaborating with Qualcomm Technologies to develop mirasol-enabled handsets. Mirasol, used in displays, consumes less power and uses reflective technology to provide colors.
Nokia, which is always happy to point out that its handsets are 80 percent recyclable and come in recyclable packaging, is offering us the 5630 XpressMusic, which comes packaged with Nokia's Green Explorer service. Green Explorer is a multi-channel service used to share information on eco-tips and traveling.
But that’s small time –- Nokia's real innovation is a handset that uses only the power it needs. The 5630 XpressMusic has a Power Save option that reads the amount of available light and responds with the needed amount of illumination. It also comes with an energy-efficient charger that will remind you (visually and audibly) when the battery is done charging. Smartphone indeed.