LG and even Samsung may be grabbing headline space with the announcement of solar-powered prototypes that may or may not be actual phones, but lesser-known manufacturer ZTE already has one, and it's low-cost too. World's first, in fact.
The Coral-200-Solar is a joint effort from ZTE, operator Digicel and Dutch-based developer Intivation. The handset has an integrated solar charger built right in, and one hour's solar charging gives you 15 minutes talktime; four hours' charging for one hour talktime and so on.
The phone is aimed at markets with limited or no access to electricity, so will be available from June in Haiti, Samoa and Vanuatu, but nowhere in Western Europe. ZTE is talking to other operators about developing a similar phone in other markets, but no further information is available at the moment. However, the technology in this phone is very likely to appear in Europe in the next one to two years.