The underside of the tablet

What I want to see on all next-gen tablets: a backside panel covered with solar cells under a Gorilla Glass surface. Corning also has bendable Willow Glass for curved surfaces or for scooped edges, so I could see printed cells working too. It kills me that I can’t just lay my Android tablet face-down in the sun and have it trickle charge. It wouldn’t take more than a handful of milliwatts to keep the battery topped up.

Think about it: you can run a 3rd generation Apple TV unit, decoding Full HD video, with less than a watt of power. Most of the tablets and smart phones on the market can pull off the same trick.

With the whole solar industry getting killed by overproduction, why not move to soak up that capacity? If the price per watt is something like 90 cents, and the surface area required is about the size the size of a tablet-back, then in my mind there’s no sense in not engineering something useful like this into your products. Especially since all of these devices are struggling to differentiate themselves in the market anyway. Sustainable tech strikes me as a nice angle to play.

Update: Of course, on second thought, the bigger question is whether the upfront costs in energy and raw materials of producing additional solar panels to power/charge a tablet would be made up during the lifecycle of the average tablet. On that point, the answer is probably no, which indicates bigger problems in consumption anyway.

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