Solar Power Up Your iPhone
The Solar Surge from Novothink, a case that doubles as a solar charger, can provide about 20 minutes of talk time after two hours in the sun.
In January, I wrote about the YoGen, a hand-cranked power generator for portable devices. Pulling on the YoGen’s miniature outboard-motor-like chain to get a few minutes’ talk time was not a great experience, but another temporary power generator may be a better idea.
The Solar Surge, from Novothink, uses the sun to charge an external supplemental battery enclosed in a case that surrounds the iPhone. According to the company, this is the first solar charging solution approved by Apple, and it works with the iPhone 3G and 3GS and the iPod Touch.
A two-hour session in the sun provides about 20 minutes of talk time. And to help figure out how much charging is needed for other tasks, the company provides an iPhone app and Web site calculator. Input the type of weather, plus how much talking, movie watching and music listening you plan on doing, and the app will tell you how much solar charging you need to keep your iPhone humming.
The charger is available only on the company’s Web site; the iPhone version is $80, while the iPod Touch model is on sale for $53. Both are available in either black or white, with other colors to come.
While I haven’t tried the device, the one factor that for some may be a deal killer is the size. The Solar Surge looks to about double the thickness of the iPhone, a prospect that may not appeal to those who like to keep things light and simple.