The Sun's For Mobile Phones

Motorola patent could lead to cell phones powered by solar energy.
The company that invented the first mobile cell phone may have another neat innovation in the works. Motorola (Quote)  has been issued a patent for combining a solar panel with an LCD screen for mobile devices. The patent was issued last month.

With increasingly sophisticated and power-hungry mobile devices on the rise, a solar-powered option might prove worthwhile, but it may require some unique design if not changes in consumers' habits. Patent attorney Bruce Sunstein said Motorola isn't the first company to combine a display to a solar cell, but the mobile aspect is an interesting twist.

"This is pretty cool technology. The Motorola patent says they can capture 75 percent of all light on the display to the solar cell. That's pretty significant, but we may have to think differently about how we use such a phone," Sunstein, a cofounder of Bromberg & Sunstein, told

"For example, the Motorola Razr fits beautifully in your pocket when it's folded, but you're not going to get any light to a closed device. Maybe these solar phones won't have covers or we'll get in the habit of leaving them open to charge."

He also notes Apple's forthcoming iPhone has a relatively large (3.5 inches) display area and may signal a trend to larger displays, which would take in more sunlight.

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