The SOL is a laptop that is able to run on solar power. It utilizes four solar-charging panels which are attached to the top of the case. David Snir, WeWi Telecommunications CEO is touting a 2 hour charge time off of the solar panels. Once done charging the laptop should run for 8 to 10 hours according to David.
WeWi is not the first company to have introduced a solar-powered laptop. In fact in 2010 and 2011 Samsung released a solar-powered laptop. Unfortunately the laptop itself met with limited success due to a long charge time, and its cumbersome physical specifications.
While the whole Solar Charging aspect of the machine is really cool, it is not the only awesome thing about this machine. At launch it will be initially loaded with Ubuntu 12.04. You heard correctly. The SOL will be running the LTS version of one of the most popular GNU/Linux operating systems out there.
Of course if you are anything like me at this point you would be asking “but what about (insert your favorite distro here)?” Do not fret my friends. While there are some patches which are required for the hardware to fully function, most of it will work without them. The patches themselves will be made available online for you to build if you so choose.
At the time of this writing the hardware specs look to go like this:
- 13.3” LCD Screen (1366×768)
- Intel Atom D2500 1.86 GHz Dual Core Processor
- Intel 945GSE + ICH7M
- Internal Intel GMA3600 Graphics featuring 1080p HD
- Weight 5.02 lbs
- LAN:10/100 NIC
- WiFi: MIMO 801.11b/gn (2.4/5GHz)
- 3G/4G World/multimode LTE Modem
- Integrated Digital Core BT4.0
- GPS: gpsOne Gen8A
- Seagate 2.5” SATA HDD 320GB
- 2GB DDR3 SDRAM (also available with 4GB)
- 3 MP Webcam
- Realtek ALC662 HD Audio, 2 built-in speakers, internal mic, ⅛” input, headphone jack
- 3 USB 2.0
- Multi-card reader (SD/MS/MMC)
While the hardware is mostly circa 2009, the laptop itself is built to be rugged and one model will even be waterproof. Also noticeable on the machine itself is a red led on the front that will light up when the laptop is charging off of the solar panels. As stated before there are a total of four solar panels that unfold for charging using the power of the sun. The panels themselves are detachable and you may even use an extension cord so you can be working indoors while it is charging. When you do feel like working outside WeWi had the foresight to add an anti-glare film to the screen, which will help with readability in full blown sunlight. For those rainy days when you are unable to charge using the solar panels there will also be a power adapter which comes along with the laptop.
For the first production run WeWi will be producing 20,000 units. Most of these will be shipping to 3rd world markets where the units will be most needed. In fact, the idea for the laptop itself originated after WeWi’s founders visited Ghana on business.
“We saw a need there,” said David Snir, chief executive officer of WeWi. “The electricity infrastructure was very bad. We thought something needs to be done.” –theglobeandmail.com
For those of us here in North America there will be according to David a limited amount available from the first production run. Pricing will be in between $350 and $400 depending on which model you choose. It will come in several different colors: Rhino, Simba, Black Mamba, Magaw, and Viper. Those looking to purchase will be able to do so through direct sales off of the Solaptop Website and through a few as yet undisclosed online vendors.