Solar-powered cellphones at first appear counterintuitive. Most people carry their phones in a pocket or bag, so you'll have to wait until you're home until you charge it up — usually when the sun's gone down. But what if you live where electricity is scarce, and you're outside more often than not, conditions that are all too common in the developing world? Then solar looks like a much better option. And hey, if the phone could be waterproof, too, that would be great. Enter this shiny model from Sharp and Japanese telecom company AU.
Scheduled for a June release, the phone will get two hours of standby time or one minute of talk time for every 10 minutes you charge it. That's not a lot, but if the closest power outlet is hundreds of miles away that's a minute more than you'd have otherwise. It's a great idea for rustic areas, as long as you're still on a network, of course. Throw in satellite, and it would be golden.