Kyocera and SunPartner Boost Solar Efficiency

Kyocera primarily produces smartphones for the US and Japanese markets. The company is now expanding to Canada and Latin America, as well.

In the USA, the company’s focus is on rugged models: from waterproof units all the way up to MIL-compliant models. Many of Kyocera’s customers have employees in the field, and so need phones with special features like sunlight readability, gloved operation and the absolute certainty that they will not cause a spark (for the oil and gas industries).

In Japan, these requirements go even further. Some models, like the Torque G02, is protected against salt water, and others, such as the Digno Rafre, can be washed with soap.

Last year, Kyocera had a prototype phone that was charged by solar power. However, the energy conversion was not very efficient: it would generate enough power for five minutes of talk time from two hours of charge. Kyocera is working with SunPartner on the phone (SunPartner Boosts Mobile Power Using Solar), and the new ‘Wysips’ transparent solar cell technology has raised efficiency dramatically: the phone now requires just three minutes of charge for one minute of talk time.

SunPartner’s transparent solar cell is placed underneath the touch layer; it does have a small effect on the phone’s brightness, and adds some haze, although Kyocera hopes that this will not be an issue in the final version.

Kyocera’s prototype phone has a 5″ 1920 x 1080 display and uses a 2.2GHz quad-core processor. The rear camera is a 13MP unit with face recognition and the front camera is 1.2MP. The phone has a 2,600mAh battery, IPX6 or IPX8 water resistance and IP5X dust resistance.