Surrounded by outlets no further than an arm’s length away, it’s easy to forget just how nice it is having power everywhere. Then the power goes out. Or you go camping. Or you’re living in a remote area of Africa, and you’ve got to walk a few miles to juice up your gear. How’s a smartphone junkie supposed to survive?
Fortunately, there’s one power source that never* goes out, and that pretty much everyone has access to for just shy of 12 hours a day: the sun.
Meet the Umeox Apollo, just announced at Mobile World Congress. While we’ve seen a few promises of solar-powered Android phones in the past, this is one of the first we’ve actually seen head for production.
Before you get too excited: there’s no word on whether or not this thing’ll ship stateside and, given that it’s a Chinese manufacturer, it might be a bit hard to track down here. Additionally, it looks like there are actually two different models: One for the US (MTK6573) with support for 850/1900Mhz bands (AT&T!), and one (the MTK6516) that’ll work in Europe and much of Asia. That Euro model would make a pretty killer backpackin’ phone.
The rest of the specs aren’t anything too special, but for the curious:
Just be careful not to kill your battery completely — while the company estimates that charging up for daily usage should only require about 2.5 hours of sunlight, bringin’ it back to 100% after it hits deads-ville will require a hefty 17 hours. Look for the 900/1800MHz model to hit in Q2 of this year, and the 850/1900MHz model to hit in Q3.
* well, technically not never, but you know, probably not for a while.