'Blue Earth' Solar Cell Phone Unveiled by Samsung

Dennis Faas's picture

It seems automobiles aren't the only consumer item 'going green' these days. At last week's annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, popular electronics manufacturer Samsung unveiled a solar-powered cellphone constructed from recycled plastic water bottles, making quite the splash with enviro-techies worldwide.

At the Toronto International Auto Show this past week, just about everyone was thinking green. Hydrogen, electric, and hybrid cars dominated center stage throughout the event, just as they had weeks before at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. With automotive sales slumping hard, automakers have been forced to think differently about the kind of products they design and the carbon footprint their vehicles will leave. (Source: metronews.ca)

Mobile phone makers are facing a similar challenge. Most estimates peg a handset slide at about ten per cent through 2009, meaning companies like Samsung, Research in Motion, and Nokia must adapt to changing consumer demands and interests.

Healthy earth, healthy user

The first refreshing reaction has come from Samsung, whose recently unveiled "Blue Earth" phone is something of an environmental marvel. The first solar-powered mobile phone in history, it closely resembles a smooth, shiny pebble. The solar technology is no slouch, either -- according to Samsung, the device's panels can soak up enough juice to ensure a call can be made at any time of the day. Blue Earth will even include a sensible "eco walk" feature, which tracks how many steps a user has made (like a pedometer) and can estimate the amount of carbon dioxide one has saved by staying out of a vehicle. (Source: timesonline.co.uk)

Samsung is not alone, however. Chinese company ZTE is working with mobile operator Digicel on a solar-powered handset for developing countries. Priced at just 15 pounds, the ZTE phone is meant for consumers who need to communicate but don't always have access to an electricity source.

It's not yet known what Blue Earth will cost, but environmentalists are already hailing it as a major achievement. It's estimated that almost half the world's population -- as many as three billion people -- use mobile phones, and end up tossing them in the dung heap when they move on to faster, more efficient technology.

Of course, the question now is whether or not Blue Earth itself can be recycled, much like the plastic bottles molded to its shape.

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