Mobility

Is this $4,500 solar-powered iPhone the future of business smartphones?

A Russian company called Caviar offers the iPhone X Tesla, which can be charged by just a little sunlight.

Companies are constantly hard at work thinking of ways to conserve battery life for their users' smartphones. Google recently laid out a plan that will see artificial intelligence (AI) manage battery life within their new Android phones and Apple has made it a priority for their next line of devices as well.

But Caviar, a company in Russia, has jumped ahead of both companies by announcing the sale of their new "iPhone X Tesla" that can be charged entirely with sunlight, according to a recent press release. The phone has a solar panel on the back of it, allowing the smartphone to charge its battery from light using silicone semiconductors. Caviar unveiled the effort last November and is now selling the phones officially.

"When the sunlight comes to the case of iPhone X, its surface containing the solar battery, is bombarded with photons and there comes the motion creating the electrical current," the release noted. "The engineers of Caviar have carried out over 100 tests proving the effectiveness and safety of this system. It is easy to imagine this phone in the hands of the astronauts, pioneers, people who make great discoveries on the edge of human capabilities."

SEE: BYOD (bring-your-own-device) policy (Tech Pro Research)

The smartphone is significantly thicker than its iPhone X counterpart, coming in at a whopping 16.2mm thickness, as opposed to the 7.7mm size of the average Apple device. Caviar says the phones are equipped with a special battery charge indicator and a number of other high-end features for any eco-conscious consumers.

"The design of the device is a modern, laconic structure, monochrome black color, shock-resistant case, impressive gold elements and the solar battery itself that makes the phone's style even more futuristic," they wrote in the release, adding that the smartphone was resistant to water and dust as well.

The cheapest model is 64GB, which costs about $4,500, and the only other option is the 256GB model that will run for about $4,800. Both prices are excluding taxes and custom duties, but Caviar noted in the release that the phone does come with an unexplained "personal consultant."

The company wanted to sell only 99 of the devices but due to overwhelming demand, they will now sell 999. The first one they made will go to Tesla founder Elon Musk, who they credit as the inspiration behind the solar-powered phone's Tesla moniker, due to Musk's work with solar panels.

The phone slated for Musk will even be customized with an etching of "Made on Earth by Humans," a hat tip to a phrase written on the Tesla car recently shot into outer space by Musk's company SpaceX, the release said.

While it may be easy to overlook the Caviar iPhone X Tesla as an overpriced novelty, the inclusion of a solar panel could have big implications for on-the-go professionals. Business travelers and field workers, especially, would benefit from solar power. And, combined with the coming 5G advances, solar-powered devices could make is much easier for professionals to get work done wherever they find themselves.

The big takeaways for tech leaders:
  • Russian smartphone appliance maker Caviar has created a solar-powered iPhone that can charge entirely through the sunlight.
  • The iPhone X Tesla device costs a whopping $4,500, but could set the stage for the next generation of smartphones.

Also see

teslaphone.jpg
Image: Caviar

About Jonathan Greig

Jonathan Greig is a freelance journalist based in New York City. He recently returned to the United States after reporting from South Africa, Jordan, and Cambodia since 2013.

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