Vodacom’s solar-powered cellphone

5 October 2010

In a bid to exploit South Africa’s abundant sunshine and reduce reliance on mains electricity, Vodacom has launched a low-cost solar-powered mobile phone with the unique ability to charge on the go – even when it’s not in direct sunlight.

Developed by Vodafone, the VF 247 has the unique ability to charge on the go, enabling people to benefit from mobile communications even in areas where electricity is scarce.

“Cellphones are the primary means of communication for millions of South Africans, and thanks to our association with Vodafone we’re able to supply this new solar-powered handset, which makes it as easy and practical as possible for people to connect,” Vodacom South Africa MD Shameel Joosub said in a statement last week.

Integrated solar panel

The VF 247 is designed with an integrated solar panel, saving users both time and money. The special built-in Sun Boost software ensures that the phone charges even when it’s not in direct sunlight.

Charging the phone in sunlight for an hour or two every day should be enough to cover the power needs for average users, but if the battery runs low the phone can be topped up with a traditional mains power charger.

“In many communities, electricity supplies are intermittent or non-existent, but with this new handset, people won’t have to worry about when they are next going to be able to charge the battery,” said Joosub.

“It’s so simple and obvious, but the combination of solar power and a low-cost handset will hopefully make a big difference.”

Basic voice and text features

The handset has been fitted with a high-temperature battery that can safely withstand increased operational temperatures. To prevent it from failure, an additional temperature protection is also embedded which will switch off any charging should the battery exceed the safe temperature.

The VF 247 is an easy-to-use device that has all the basic voice and text features along with FM radio, torch and a colour display.

SAinfo reporter

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