So, will the Samsung S7550 Blue Earth usher in a new age in the design of mobile phones? Well, fully solar-powered phones are still years away but both chips and solar panels are getting more efficient by the day. The plastic used on the phone is top notch, and we know many people would love to hear it's been recycled (most of it anyway).
Strangely, it's hard not to like even the box of this phone. It can be turned into a photo frame or a pen stand for example and that's a trend we'd like to see continue. Not that a pen stand is exactly essential but a clever way to make the packaging useful is a great idea - nothing goes to waste, plus you get one extra thing in the box… though well, not exactly in the box.
Barring third party solutions, mobile phones that pack a solar panel are quite rare. The Samsung S7550 Blue Earth jumps in the deep - but it gives you the novelty of solar power without sacrificing features.
If it's just a touchscreen bar you're after, well there's plenty to choose from. Just keep in mind that none will offer a feature that makes them unique and makes you responsible.
The Nokia 5530 XpressMusic is quite affordable and will match most of the Blue Earth's features. What it lacks is a GPS receiver (and a solar panel of course), but install the free Nokia Maps, pair it with a Bluetooth GPS unit and you're ready to go. Of course, you can also trade up to Nokia 5800 XpressMusic.
The ones that flaunt eco-friendliness do so at the cost of features. The Samsung E1107 Crest Solar has the solar panel, but that's pretty much all it has. The Motorola W233 Renew on the other hand is made from recycled plastic and is carbon neutral, but again - it's very basic.
Sure, the solar panel of the Samsung S7550 Blue Earth alone isn't enough to power the phone and will only top up the battery if it's running low and you're away from a charger. This may not sound like much to some, but do not underestimate the statement it makes - recycling and renewable energy are things many people care about deeply. In the end, the Blue Earth may not be the Toyota Prius of mobile phones but it marks an important shift. It's not fully environmentally friendly just yet, but it's perhaps environmentally aware enough to start making a difference.
That takes us back where we started actually. Looking up the Eco Day list in the Samsung Blue Earth calendar, we guess Samsung may try and rush things to launch the handset in time for the 28th of September[*].
* 28th September is Green Consumer day