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While details on its hardware and OS are scarce, Samsung claims its Blue Earth phone, set to launch late this year can make calls outside powered solely on the solar energy it gets from its panels in the back.  (Source: Samsung)
Samsung's new "Blue Earth" phone seeks to be the greenest phone on the smart phone scene

Samsung claims its new "Blue Earth" smart phone, which comes with solar panels on its back, will be able to get enough sun juice to power a call when outdoors on a reasonably sunny day. 

In the smart phone market, every phone's dream is to become the next iPhone which fast became the best-selling phone in America.  Competitors like Google's G1 phone, Verizon's Voyager, RIM's BlackBerry Storm, and the upcoming Palm Pre are all trying to catch the iPhone, but while generating decent sales, these touch screen offerings have fallen short of their prospective "iPhone Killer" labels.

So rather than beating the same old path that these other companies went on, Samsung decided to use its smart phone expertise to create a touch-screen phone which out-greens the iPhone.  With electric vehicles like the Chevy Volt, and efficient electronics being one of the hottest trends on the market, Samsung based its new "Blue Earth" phone on these principles of greenness and efficiency.

The phone's case is made from a recycled water bottle plastic, called PCM.  The phone is also free of Brominated Flame Retardants, Beryllium and Phthalates, compounds frequently found in electronics and suspected and shown to be toxic in some early testing. 

The Blue Earth also features the aforementioned solar panels on its back.  While details on these panels are scarce (as is details on the phone's hardware and OS), Samsung claims that they will provide enough power for a user to make a call virtually any time outdoors.  For more energy intensive touch-screen technology, the phone has a typical battery pack, which recharges via a newly designed "energy efficient" charger, keeping with the green image.

The phone also sports an "Eco mode" which allows the user to tweak screen brightness, backlight duration and Bluetooth for maximum energy savings.  Samsung says its goal with the phone was "to draw attention to preserving our fragile environment."  As to the design, it says the phone symbolizes "a flat and well rounded shiny pebble."

The phone features an "eco walk" application prebuilt into it, which acts a pedometer and counts the number of steps users take.  It then tells them how much carbon dioxide emissions they save versus driving the same distance.

Samsung has not announced a firm U.S. release date, but the phone is hitting the UK in the second half of this year. 

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Blah blah blah hype hype hype
By kontorotsui on 2/13/2009 11:14:24 AM , Rating: 5
"to draw attention to preserving our fragile environment."

This is only PR hype.

A mobile phone is filled with dangerous compounds, and to make it a lot of energy has to be expended. Advertising a few Wh savings is an insult to every person with a working brain (apparently they think this is a strict minority).

They'd rather focus on the pratical advantage of being able to charge a mobile phone by leaving it exposed to the sun. While not as good as a full charge, it comes handy when outgoing away from any power socket.

That gives much more value than ridiculous tags like "green" and "enviromentally safe" which are obviously untrue.

RE: Blah blah blah hype hype hype
By TomZ on 2/13/2009 11:20:54 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly, I couldn't agree more.

And there's no way the phone will be able to capture enough energy to support a phone call. That's just silly - only an idiot would believe that is possible.

Yes, having a solar cell might be nice for a trickle charge when you're outside and can set it down. But otherwise, it's not that useful, because most people keep their phones in their pockets, purse, etc. most of the time.

By corduroygt on 2/13/2009 12:39:53 PM , Rating: 3
I would consider this phone or another cell phone that could recharge its batteries, if:

1. It also worked with indoors lighting, no need to carry a charger when I'm traveling
2. Wasn't advertised as an "eco" or "green" phone, just a phone which lasts longer and can be charged with light.

By JonnyDough on 2/14/2009 3:58:12 PM , Rating: 2
Places to leave your cell phone face down to charge up:

Car dash (in a non-UV reflective windowed car or tinted)

Window sill of an Amazon bungalow in the middle of Brazilian rain forest.

Between legs in a tanning both with phone on "vibrate". Hopefully the tanning lotion on your hands won't make it too difficult to grab when you get a call, otherwise it might result in concern about the moaning.

On safari in the hot African Savannah. This time you may want to set all vibrate and ring tones to OFF so as not to upset hungry lions.

Next to the tin man from the Wizard of Oz, just off the yellow brick road near the beach. Hopefully he'll have just been polished and the mirroring effect will allow you to charge up your phone in record time, should the flying monkeys find you there.

"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007

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