'Simu ya Solar' from Safaricom

Posted on March 3, 2010

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This article was written by my good friend Kamirithu a.k.a Stanley. Please let him know what you think of the articles by leaving a comment

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Safaricom’s Simu ya Solar (Solar phone) in indeed a brilliant innovation. At a time when we are concerned about the negative impact of climate change on the lives of the poor people especially in Africa, it is encouraging to embrace the world’s first solar phone.

The ‘Simu ya Solar’ S312 ZTE was developed through a partnership of ZTE, a Chinese firm and Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile service provider. The phone which is retailing at Kes 2, 999/- (about US$ 39)is affordable to many Kenyans. It comes with a one year warranty.

The phone has  a solar panel at the back on which it can be charged using solar energy in 8-15 hours depending on the weather. This is a prayer answered for many Kenyans in rural areas and deprived urban neighbourhoods who in the past have had to rely on merchants to charge their phones. The phone also comes with a conventional charger though providing real alternatives.

The ‘Simu ya solar’ is amazingly environment friendly. On top of being powered by solar energy, it is manufactured from recycled parts. We couldn’t possibly ask for more.

As a beginner, ‘Simu ya solar’ opens doors to many more innovations of similar kind. Rural folk can now own and use mobile phone handsets without worrying about access to electricity or the lack of it. Obviously, it could be even better if it could be fully charged over  a shorter period of time. I’m sure the engineers are scratching their heads.

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