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The Chinese firm, Xiaomi releases a large number of smartphone models every year, from simple Android One smartphones to interesting high-end smartphones and even gaming phones. Due to the good price/quality ratio, the company has become an important global player relatively quickly. Moreover, the manufacturer regularly shows special innovations, for example, the Xiaomi Mi 9 transparent telephone was released earlier this year. This time we report on a very different, but also special Xiaomi smartphone, this device is equipped with a solar panel.

Xiaomi smartphone with solar panel

On July 27, 2018, Beijing Xiaomi Mobile Software filed a design patent with the WIPO (World Intellectual Property Office) for a smartphone with a solar cell module.

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The seven enclosed sketches show a smartphone where the entire front consists of the screen surface. It is unclear where the selfie camera is placed. In any case, no notch or hole is visible in the display, nor do the illustrations show a pop-up camera. It may be an under-screen camera, this technology under development was recently shown by Xiaomi in a short demonstration video.

The rear shows a dual camera that is placed vertically, with a flash in between. This camera design is comparable to the Xiaomi Mi 8 and the Redmi Note 6 Pro. A fingerprint scanner cannot be found on the back, it will probably be processed behind the screen.

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The integrated solar panel is, of course, noticeable immediately, this covers a large part of the rear. The mobile phone does not seem to get much thicker, the camera module protrudes further than the solar panel. The integration of a solar panel makes it possible to charge this Xiaomi smartphone using solar energy.

Whether Xiaomi will actually release this climate-friendly smartphone is as yet unknown. There are more companies that have investigated the possibilities of a solar smartphone. For example, the Russian manufacturer Caviar released the iPhone X Tesla last year, this device also has a built-in solar battery. Going a bit further back in time, Samsung launched the Guru E1107 in 2009, a phone with an integrated solar panel.

LG also released a solar cell battery cover in 2010 (model: PCB-100), this optional accessory was specially released for the LG Pop GD510, a compact mobile phone with a 3-inches touchscreen. If you keep the solar cell battery cover in the sun for 10 minutes, you could call again for 2 minutes. Since then, more solar phone chargers have been brought to the market but built into a phone that rarely happens.

It would be a big stunt if Xiaomi actually decided to produce this smartphone. Tech companies are generally not labeled as ‘green’. The Dutch Fairphone still scores best in all lists. Apple also takes the environment into account. By contrast, Chinese companies are not so well-known for their green ambitions, Xiaomi although there is some attention to its site devoted. Time will tell whether Xiaomi really sees a future for this smartphone model.

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