Intivation yesterday unveiled its second solar powered
phone with ZTE, the S316 Solar Phone, along with a high
performance solar charger, the Solar Egg, built by XPAL.
The ZTE phone follows the company's first solar powered phone,
the ZTE S312 launched in 2009, which was particularly aimed at
the African market. The S316 incorporates a torch, a vital
necessity in areas with uncertain power supplies.
The stand alone universal Solar Egg S101 charger is designed to
work in sub-optimal weather conditions. It can reach over 90%
battery charge in four hours of exposure during average charging
Paul Naastepad, CEO of Intivation, told Mobile: 'Our key
technological breakthrough has been to increase the power going
to a battery to such an extent that it has allowed a lot more
consumer devices to be run efficiently on solar power.'
The company is to launch three solar powered phones and three universal chargers in 2010.
Intivation's SunBoost technology is put on a chip and then sold
to mobile phone manufacturers. The company then helps
manufacturers design and make the phone. Over half a million of
its chips have been sold so far via 11 operators in eight
Intivation launched its first solar powered phone in 2009 with
Digicel in the Caribbean and in Kenya with Safaricom (part owned
and managed by Vodafone). The latter sold more than 10,000 in one
Naastepad told Mobile: 'All ODMs and operators are looking at low
cost solar powered devices. Africa is the easiest target as power
consumption there is lowest and the talk time ARPU is low. So if
you can provide a low feature phone to an area where talk time is
low - this phone can run just off solar energy without the need
for a charger.'
Intivation is also targeting Latin America, India and China, but
is still focusing on areas which suffer from an unreliable
electricity supply. The phones are being designed to fit the
demands of individual markets.
Naastepad said: 'In Africa you have to have a torch, so the ZTE
phone has one built into the solar powered phone. In Latin
America you've got to have a camera with video function. So, the
Inventec designed phone has that feature, as well as a
sophisticated dual Sim function.'
In India, CellOne is launching a solar powered phone. 'The Indian
market is the most price sensitive in the world, so cost is the
key here,' said Naastepad.
For the future, Intivation is looking at PDA type phones. 'But
they use too much energy, so they die by the time the day is
over,' said Naastepad. 'If you reduce the power consumption of
the phone, a new app comes out and the power need goes back up.
It's a struggle to keep the power consumption down without
compromising the amount of voice and text needed.'
Naastepad suggested that one day it might be possible to install
a solar cell onto the back of the phone. 'It would be quite a big
phone and it would have to be a hybrid phone, as it could never
be only solar powered. The power consumption would be too much,
but it can help charge the phone.'
Intivation was founded in 2003 under the name True Solar
Autonomy. Its headquarters is in Amsterdam in The