SunPartner, a France-based company, has developed a 95 percent transparent, 300-micron-thick, solar cell module that may one day be integrated into most phones and other mobile devices to provide more battery life as well as a ‘cleaner’ mean of recharging.
The module, which can be positioned under or above a phone’s touchscreen, is reported to be capable of extending a device’s battery life by 20 percent, with 50 percent being the company’s ultimate goal.
“Today, on a smartphone, your power consumption can be fully compensated while not being used,” said Mathieu Debroca, SunPartner’s director of international markets. “And we can extend your battery life by 20 percent.”
Not only will the solar module provide more battery life and on-the-go charging, it is also relatively cheap, with a purported cost of just $1-2 to manufacturers. According to Debroca, SunPartner is currently in talk with the top 10 handset makers, and products featuring the solar modules may begin appearing as early as next year in 2014.
A twenty percent increase in battery life for a handset certainly doesn’t seem like much, but for mobile devices like e-readers the extra juice can mean that the device could stay on indefinitely. Chip makers are working on making their chips more efficient in every ways, but even then these measures may not be enough. The battery itself may be a bottle neck, and perhaps companies like SunPartner will add some missing pieces to the equation to ensure that mobile users can go a full day without needing to look for an outlet.