Don’t be fooled by this new luxury phone from Tag Heuer. It may look just like another, expensive device for rich folk, but it actually hides a really exciting piece of brand new tech. The device is called the Meridiist Infinite, and it is described as the “World’s first perpetual power reserve mobile phone.” What does that mean? It has a solar charging panel built into its screen.
The Merediist Infinite is the result of a collaboration between two firms, Atelier Haute Communication – a company which specializes in tailor made phones – and Sunpartner Technologies, the company behind Wysips Crystal technology. We had the chance to check out Wysips tech during CES. It’s the name given to a transparent photovoltaic layer placed between the glass and the screen on a phone or similar device. The cells automatically charge the battery when they’re exposed to sunlight, or even artificial light.
This is the first commercial example of the tech, and it was revealed during the Baselworld 2014 Watch and Jewellery show, which closed its doors yesterday. Although details on how much energy the Wysips panel will provide isn’t stated, we were told to expect around 15 percent charge over the course of a normal day. Trickle charging your phone’s battery this way could end up making a big difference.
The solar charging screen on the Merediist Infinite is its standout feature. The Wysips panel is sandwiched between a sapphire crystal piece of glass, and a 2.4-inch, 320 x 240 pixel, monochrome OLED screen. Beneath this is an alphanumeric keyboard, and on the rear of the phone is a 5-megapixel camera. The body is made from grade 5 titanium with carbon fiber inserts.
If you don’t mind it being a feature phone, and just want to get your hands on the solar charging screen, you’ll have to be both quick and rich. Tag Heuer will only be producing 1,911 Merediist Infinite phones, and the price hasn’t been confirmed yet. A regular Merediist, without the solar charging tech, costs around $5,500, so expect to have to dig deeper than this if your mind is made up.
At CES, we saw SunPartner’s screen working on a Huawei phone, and were told to expect the first mainstream phones to arrive in 2015.