Kyocera and SunPartner have announced their partnership at the end of 2014, but we didn’t expect these two companies to come forward with a new device so soon. It seems our assumptions were wrong, because Kyocera and SunPartner have spilled the beans about a new rugged smartphone powered by light, through the photovoltaic technology called Wysips, will be introduced at the Mobile World Congress next week. If you’ve been wondering when solar-powered smartphones would become a thing, the time has come so wonder no more.
The two companies have come forth with a working prototype that is based on an existing Kyocera smartphone, namely the Kyocera Torque. The Torque isn’t the most stylish smartphone on the market, but it is among the most durable ones, designed for rugged, harsh environments and working conditions. The combination between a rugged phone and a photovoltaic recharging system seems as ideal as possible in my mind, especially since Kyocera products are mostly designed for harsh working environments that put devices at risk often.
According to Kyocera and SunPartner, the modules that will facilitate the recharging process are flexible, invisible, powerful and thin measuring only 0.5 mm. The Wysips Crystal is a photovoltaic component that is a mix between optical and photovoltaic properties that is placed below the touchscreen of the Kyocera Torque. The company behind the module says that it expects its modules to be installed in other smartphone displays in the near future, which means that maybe large manufacturers like Samsung, Apple, Nokia, HTC and even LG might start putting these panels in their phones so that we can effectively charge our phones while we’re using them.
The photovoltaic component catches ambient light and stores it as energy within, so that users of the Kyocera Torque will be able to use their phones even if the batteries are completely discharged. That can change a lot when it comes to battery technology and these modules might just be the innovation many have been waiting for in the battery department of smartphones. SunPartner says that they want to get in on any kind of smartphone business, ranging from entry-level smartphones to luxury brands and extremely durable, rugged phones like those from Kyocera.
The Kyocera Torque prototype with the Wysips module built-in will be on display at the MWC 2015 next week at both the Kyocera and SunPartner booths and we’re anxious to see how much power this little transparent component can actually provide for a smartphone. Price or availability of the phone haven’t been disclosed yet, but we’re sure to find out more at the MWC. Moreover, the company behind the photovoltaic component has disclosed that it is already in talks with smartphone display manufacturers to include their new component into future smartphones. It seems solar-powered smartphones are no longer a concept of the future, and we’re very glad to hear that such a huge breakthrough has finally materialized into something practical. Now, we’re just curious about how much these components will add to the prices of smartphones.