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Indian manufacturer offers $45 solar-powered cellphone

Solar-powered gadgets are not a new concept in the technology world, but one that powers a fully functioning cellphone for less than the average price of a monthly phone bill is definitely a rarity. Indian mobile phone manufacturer Micromax is offering $45 cellphone that takes advantage of the hot eastern sun to juice up the device as while featuring several other functions.

While it may not be able to rival big name smartphones like the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy S3, the Micromax X259 does come with a modest 2.4-inch color screen with a 240 x 320 pixel resolution, built-in VGA camera (only 0.3 megapixels), Bluetooth connectivity, media player, and dual SIM card capability. Pretty reasonable for a budget phone if we say so ourselves.

The candybar style cellphone can be charged into a wall socket like your average mobile device, or can be left charging in the sun for three hours to provide up to 90 minutes of talk time. Although we doubt anyone would actually charge their phones solely with sunlight, the feature does help add backup battery life during emergency situations without users having to buy an additional battery pack or carrying chargers around.

According to Treehugger, such a device could be useful in places like India due to frequent power outages. The country already leads the world in solar energy growth, expanding more than 700 percent between 2010 and 2011 alone. Though the seemingly affordable retail value sounds more than reasonable to the American market, the 2,499 Indian rupees price tag could actually prove to be rather costly for low-income families who earn roughly 5,000 Indian rupees a month. Hopefully, as more renewable energy devices become more of a norm in India, prices will become lower and more competitive so that everyone could have access to such green technology.