Both Apple and Samsung look to be beavering away on solar powered smartphones in a bid to stand out from the competition.

That's according to a report from ZDNet Korea, which claims that while Samsung is currently focused on displays, it is 'deeply considering' shifting its focus to developing solar power technology for its smartphones.

Samsung isn't alone in its sun-powered plans either, as the report also states that Apple has recently applied for additional solar charging patents - there's not much more to go on than 'solar panels for iPhones', but that's a pretty big clue.

That would make sense as battery life is the biggest stumbling block still faced by handsets and given Samsung and Apple's current popularity in the phone world they're ideally positioned to make solar power popular.

Second time lucky

Solar powered smartphones aren't a new idea though. Apple filed a patent for just such a technology back in early 2011 and Samsung even released a phone with solar panels on it back in 2009, but so far the technology hasn't really caught on.

It's unlikely that either company is close to bringing the technology to market, but with two of the biggest smartphone companies in the world looking into it solar power could be a common feature of handsets a few years from now, and could really step up battery life, especially when left on standby.

  • Right now you can't charge your phone with the sun, so you might want to check out these battery saving tips.