Nokia has been testing for the last four months a Solar-Powered mobile phone prototype called Lokki. The phone was given to five test subjects living in different climates: from the Arctic circle, all the way to the sunny Equator in Kenya. The goal was to collect data and analyze how viable this technology is for the mass market. What they discovered is that solar charging is possible, but very challenging. Results were mixed among the test subjects: not only where a user lives, but also their lifestyle and how they use their phone determine how useful this technology could be for a certain individual.
When the phones were optimally positioned under the sun, they were able to harvest enough energy to remain in stand-by mode. However, talk time was very limited. Only one of the Lokki devices could have supported un-interrupted communication; it was a Lokki sailing the Baltic and constantly being hit by the sun rays. Other devices such as the one in the Arctic harvested enough energy for only 17 hours of talk time on an interval of 65 days! In conclusion, there’s too many variables such as lifestyle and region that influence the effectiveness of a solar-powered phone, which means that depending on those conditions, a solar phone could range anywhere between being useful, to being useless.
The Lokki is a modified version of the Nokia C1-02, a very basic phone without any of the features smartphone users are used to. This means that solar-powered smartphones, which demand more battery life for advanced functions such as high-speed mobile internet, GPS positioning, and advanced applications, are still far away from hitting the market.