Samsung is about to launch a solar-powered 10.1in netbook in Russia. The NC215S laptop comes with solar panels built into the lid which means the battery lasts for up to 14.5 hours. According to Samsung’s Russian web site two hours of charging the device in the sun provides one additional hour of battery life.
With ‘Sleep-and-Charge’ USB port the netbook can also charge portable devices such as smartphones or MP3-players even if it’s in sleep mode or turned off. Even if the battery is flat it can still charge devices using the solar charging.
As well as being solar powered, the NC215S has a TCO certificate for ergonomic design and environmental protection. According to the company it is a low-power device and is made of materials that are easily recyclable.
The netbook will be launched in Russia in August but there is also press and blog speculation about availability in African markets and in the US. The retail price is expected to be 13,999 Roubles. (That translates to £310 or $500, but no other prices have been announced).
I’ve reported on other devices that could be solar-charged, but I don’t recall another netbook that had integrated solar panels. If I didn’t already have a Samsung netbook, with which I am very happy, I would be tempted. Certainly as and when I need a replacement (which is not likely to be anytime soon, unfortunately) the solar version device is tempting.
The idea of just leaving it in the sun for a while to extend battery life is very appealing. And the ability to charge other devices even when it’s own battery is flat is a nice touch. A good example of how green IT can be. Hopefully other manufacturers will follow, although it may only really be effective for netbooks (and tablets) rather than larger devices.
It’ll be interesting to see if it’s more expensive than standard versions, but if the Russian price is indicative then I suspect not – or not much anyway.