Samsung has announced the impending release of its first solar-powered cell phone, hot on the heels of Sony's GreenHeart C901 and Naite phones made from recycled CD cases and water bottles. But while consumers in the U.S. will be able to get their hands on Sony's phones, the Samsung Crest E1107 will be released in Europe, Southeast Asia, Southwest Asia, and Latin America. The phone is already on sale in India for $59, and is scheduled for release in other locations later this month.
It's not a huge loss for Americans—the phone's solar panel only provides five to 10 minutes of talk time for every hour of charging—but with an FM radio and built-in torch light, the Crest could prove useful in emergencies. The phone was designed, in fact, for use in rural areas with spotty electricity. Samsung's Crest comes with some unique non-survival related features, too. The phone offers incoming call screening for bikers in Southeast Asia for safe driving, and the Crest provides prayer time alerts for religious customers.
The Crest isn't that exciting by itself, but it's part of a larger solar-powered cell phone movement. Both Sharp and LG plan on releasing solar-powered offerings in the near future, and Samsung's upcoming Blue Earth model will be the first solar-powered all-touchscreen cell phone.
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Sony Ericsson Releasing Phones Made From CD Cases and Water Bottles