This is actually one of the things I was most excited to see from Mobile World Congress. The rugged smartphone manufacturer recently announced a partnership with SunPartner, a company that specializes in solar power. This is no surprise, as solar power is an obvious step forward for rugged smartphones, but SunPartner has experience making solar panels unlike anything we have seen before.
These solar powered phones won’t have this panels you are used to seeing. SunPartner has developed a transparent solar panel technology that can go in between a smartphone’s screen and digitizer. This means you pretty much won’t be able to see it, which is something we wanted to check out first hand.
So we are in Barcelona drowning in tech and we stopped by the Kyocera booth. After taking a look at the screen for a while, we can see that viewing angles and colors aren’t great, but Kyocera is also not known for providing the best screens, so we don’t know if it’s really the solar panel’s fault. In addition, this is still a prototype. For what it’s worth, it happens to look pretty bright and reads very well under bright lighting.
Kyocera demonstrated charging capabilities by developing an app that let’s you know when the solar panel is charging and when it’s not. It’s simple, the image of the light bulb lights up if it is and turns off if it’s not.
How fast charging will be is a whole other story and that is something Kyocera is not ready to reveal yet, but at the very least we know it will prolong battery life, which is already a huge step forward.