First solar-powered mobile phone hits China

The world's first solar-powered phone has finally gone on sale in China.

Readers living in the UK might not be too concerned about yet another solar-powered gadget, but for those of us in the Far East, the latest mobile phone to go on sale in China has a distinct appeal.

The £250 S116 handset from Chinese firm Hi-Tech Wealth and first seen as a prototype at CeBIT this year is a mostly average phone except for its claim to being the world's first solar-powered mobile. Moreover, the company's claims make it sound like they've managed to get some impressive mileage out of those little solar panels.

Solar top-ups

After just an hour of direct sunshine the S116 has enough power for 40 minutes of talk time - that may not sound like much, but remember the solar juicing is in addition to regular AC charging. It's also a slight improvement over what was claimed in pre-production. A full sun-powered charge takes 12 hours, so a hand crank like this one might be a wise addition.

Like a desktop calculator, the phone can also draw enough power for a slow battery charge when indoors - apparently, even candlelight is enough to get things moving. Other specs - if you fancy popping over to China for one of these green gadgets - include dual-band GSM (900/1800MHz), MP3 playback and a 1.3-megapixel camera.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.