back to article Samsung readies 'world's first' solar netbook

Samsung has announced it will be launching the NC215S solar-powered netbook this August for customers in Russia. Using solar panels to keep laptops running is nothing new, but the company claims a world’s first here due to the panel being integrated into the lid of the netbook's 10.1in, 1024 x 600-pixel display. Samsung NC215s …


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  1. Haku

    Nice idea, but... can't exactly use and charge the netbook at the same time, the back of the screen has to be pointed directly at the sun to gain maximum power meaning looking at the front of the screen will be somewhat difficult because you'll be looking in the direction of the sun.

    A detachable solar panel with retractable cable may be the better option, that way the panel could be foldable, doubling the area of light captured.

    1. Weird_George

      Built in solar panel is simpler

      A detachable solar panel with retractable cable would also be a more complicated, expensive and cumbersome option. It would require it's own enclosure which would add to the production cost, you'd always have to work out somewhere to put it, you could potentially leave it behind and so on.

      1. Haku

        @Built in solar panel is simpler

        Here's an even simpler option, have the solar panel on the back of the screen on a hinge at the top so the screen can be pointed up towards your face whilst the panel can still be pointed up towards the sun. The netbook woiuld unfold like this: _/\

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Cheaper option

      Buy a mirror!

    3. Matt Piechota


      Take a note from the egyptians and use a complex system of mirror to direct the sun's rays to the panel.

    4. Miek


      Another good reason for a detachable,retractable panel that can be folded is that I'm sure running a laptop for extended periods in direct sunlight is going to have a rather toasty effect particularly if your laptop fan has picked up a Fluff MonsterⓇ from the carpet.

    5. Justin Clements


      Could charge it at night when you're not using it I suppose?

      Ah no, that's not going to work either....

    6. Bill Neal


      if you were on the road alot, it would be nice to leave it up on the dash area while not in use. could get plenty of sun there. but why only russia? Why not Florida? Seems like a perfect market. also WHY BLACK on the rest of the case? won't it get too HOT staying in the sun for long periods of time?

    7. Torben Mogensen

      Recharge when not in use

      I had the same thought, but it could be useful for recharging the battery when the netbook is not in use. After all, with a screen of that size, you wouldn't want to use it 10 hours straight.

      As for climate, I guess it would not be much use in winter in northern Siberia, but plenty useful in the summer, when there is 24 hour daylight. But most of the Russian population is far south of the polar circle, so you get as much sun there as in northern Europe.

    8. David Gosnell

      No problem...

      At typical operating screen angles (obtuse from the keyboard) and lap orientations, for direct optimal perpendicular illumination, the sun will be a few degrees below the horizon. The problem above neatly solved, just another one to tackle.

    9. StephenD

      ...and moreover

      Most of us have the screen facing slightly up, so the back will be facing partly downwards.

  2. James Cooke
    Black Helicopters


    Just bring some to make your own on the go reflector

  3. Jean-Luc

    Be careful before drinking this cool-aid

    I'd be somewhat more optimistic because this solution comes directly from the vendor, but solar or crank chargers are not something I've had very good success with in the past.

    Does anybody have successful experiences with solar chargers for iPads?

  4. Adrian Jones

    There appear to be a number of problems

    Using laptops in bright sunlight is a problem in itself.

    Screens are usually opened to an obtuse angle, so the cell will be pointing more at the ground than the sky. (Perhaps it will come with a handy mirror to redirect the light?)

    Solar cells are not particularly efficient, so why have they covered up the border of the panel with those dots?

  5. asdf

    samsung netbooks are garbage

    Gee will it be shiny and fancy like the NC10 and break due to an intentional design flaw (internal video cable frays at fold joint) a few months after the warranty expires? Samsung is a flat screen maker first who makes garbage computers.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Let's see:

    approximate size of laptop - let's be generous and say .2 m^2.

    roughly 1kW/m^2 insolation.

    Let's say they are using 30% efficiency cells.

    1kW*.2*.3 = 60W power from the cells.

    So, assuming you can hold the cells normal to the sun, and still use it, it's just barely feasible.

    It seems to me a tablet, with the screen on one side, panel on the other, e-ink display (no backlight needed in sunlight), and a power sipping ARM CPU and this might make more sense - use it, done with it, put it screen down to charge.

  7. defiler
    Thumb Up

    Nice idea, but...

    Where's my ARM netbook? Solar panel could run that even in the dark!

  8. Ralph B

    In Russia

    In Russia netbook charges you.

  9. Anonymous Coward

    Tree Eating Monster

    I suspect Lewis Page will be a long any minute to tell us that this is a horrible tree eating monster and that it should have a micro Nuclear Generator sitting in the region that you put over your gonads.

    1. Bumpy Cat

      I'd buy that

      I would definitely go for a notebook with its own nuclear generator. I wouldn't put it over my gonads, though.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Avoid sunlight

    Don't laptops and other electronic devices always come with a warning not to expose them to direct sunlight?

    1. Patrick R
      Paris Hilton


      Left in the sun, your whole laptop will heat up and the battery will deteriorate. Wait... err. Oops!

      Paris because she knows to use batteries where the sun doesn't shine.

  11. Robredz

    The Greenies May Love it

    I'll bet Chris Hunhe, the AGW obsessed UK Energy Secretary, the man who wants to cover the UK with Wind Turbines will be creaming his jeans in anticipation of this one, will he spend a few Carbon Credits to get one from Russia?

  12. Southern


    Good to see Samsung trying something new, I hope that it doesn't bump up the price of the machine too much.

    Whilst solar power is an obvious option, I'm more interested in devices harnessing the piezoelectric effect to produce charge. I've heard of it being used in prototype tablet computers, perhaps the same can be used for laptops as well. The obvious advantage of this is that it negates the need for a bright, sunny day or the right angle for the panel, so this effect could be employed when underground or at night as well.

  13. Harry

    Yes, and ...

    ... while the laptop is not in use, you're hardly going to want to leave it unattended all day in the front garden to recharge.

    Though it will probably give the next generation of kids a new excuse "Sorry Miss, I couldn't do my homework last night because there wasn't enough sun during the day".

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Nice idea, but ...

    1024x600 - fail. 'Nuff said.

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