Leave it to Japanese designers to turn technology into something both stylish and functional -- and then keep it all to themselves. The SolarFold and SolarFan portable solar chargers unfold into surface-area-utilizing solar collectors when needed, supplying enough power to make a three-minute iPhone call after just ten minutes in the sun.
Even better, they're available immediately -- in Japan anyhow. The aptly named SolarFold packs into a tight, flat bundle about the size of a Sony PSP, but deploys like a folding screen to maximize solar exposure. But the even-cooler and equally well-named SolarFan fans out like, you know, a fan -- and it comes with a handy little tripod so you can adjust the angle of your ersatz solar array to suit your location and the time of day.
Made by AmbienTec, the chargers run about $250 each and power just about anything that can juice up via USB. The devices haven't hit U.S. stores yet, but AmbienTec will happily sell you one directly.
Very descriptive video...
"solarfold opens like a folding screen, and solarfan opens like a fan"
Not the first either I don't think. There is a similar device I found last year when trying to find an external battery charger for my phone a year ago. I don't know which came first but solio has been around at least as long as the phone I bought. More to the point the one shown here looks really generic in comparison. Also of not is the solio one has the protective faceplate built in so you don't damage your cells. O and sells for 100$ less than this one too.
Hmm trying to think of a positive note to this so I don't sound like a ranting prick... I got nothin.
Whilst it may not look as flashy as the Solio one it does actually look like it could have some better functions. I think there was actually a review of it on http://solareviews.net/ and it was shown to be a very handy new way to leverage the sun.