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Power Hardware

LG Presents Solar Powered E-Book 139

Posted by timothy
from the overcomes-my-battery-objection-at-least dept.
MikeChino writes "At first glance, e-readers offer a great set of benefits over paper-bound books – they’re light, versatile, and a great alternative to lugging around a tote full of dead tree tomes on your next trip. However these new reading mediums have one glaring fault — can you imagine the frustration of running out of juice mid-sentence and halfway through Infinite Jest? LG's new solar e-book aims to address this issue by harnessing the sun's rays to power its display. The device features a 10 centimeter wide thin-film photovoltaic panel that can power the reader for a full day's worth of reading after 4-5 hours spent sitting in the sun."
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LG Presents Solar Powered E-Book

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  • Re:Warranty (Score:4, Informative)

    by Romancer (19668) <romancer@deathsd ... 5926com minus pi> on Monday October 12, 2009 @01:48AM (#29715935) Journal

    From the Source of all knowledge (ok, Wikipedia)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_charger#Prolonging_battery_life [wikipedia.org]

    Most modern cell phones, laptops, and most electric vehicles use Lithium-ion batteries. Contrary to some recommendations, these batteries actually last longest if the battery is not fully charged; fully charging and discharging them will degrade their capacity relatively quickly. Degradation occurs faster at higher temperatures. Lithium batteries degrade more while fully charged than if it is only 40% charged. The conditions of high temperature combined with full charge are exactly the scenario occurring when a laptop computer is run on AC power. Degradation in lithium-ion batteries is caused by an increased internal battery resistance due to cell oxidation. This decreases the efficiency of the battery, resulting in less net current available to be drawn from the battery.

  • by Zouden (232738) on Monday October 12, 2009 @01:49AM (#29715941)

    The e-book itself is using an OLED display. This is different to the Kindle's eInk display which only requires power to update, so it has a battery life of several weeks. Chances are you'd be able to plug it in during that time, so there's not much need for a solar panel.

    LG are a big manufacturer of LCD and OLED screens. Adding a solar panel to their e-book is simply to make up for the fact that their display uses far more power than competing products.

  • by SlothDead (1251206) on Monday October 12, 2009 @01:56AM (#29715957)

    I have a cheap ereader that needs to be connected to your PC over USB to put new content on it. And the surprising thing is, that this seems enough to recharge it! I now have it for over a month and the battery indicator still says that it is full. It's amazing how view energy this thing consumes, just connect it to a PC once a week and that's enough.

    But I admit that solar power seems nice for ereaders that don't use cable connections, e.g. the Kindle with it's whispernet. The only problem there is that you shouldn't expose e-ink to direct sunlight, which unfortunately turns the solar powered e-reader into a stupid idea.

    (If you care, I use a Hanlin v5, it's not exactly perfect, but since Amazon deletes your books and Sony sells you rootkits it's okay)

  • by erayd (1131355) * on Monday October 12, 2009 @02:19AM (#29716071)
    I'm not sure. The reader pictured is very definitely a PRS-505. My guess is simply that the reporter was clueless and didn't realise that it was an older Sony product rather than something new out of an LG lab - the only part of that picture that belongs to LG is the solar panel itself.
  • by Nyeerrmm (940927) on Monday October 12, 2009 @02:39AM (#29716133)

    Since anecdotes are evidence: I own a Kindle and I can only think of once (in a year and a half) where I've been stuck unable to read. When the battery lasts two weeks and it only takes a couple of hours to charge, its really hard to run out, even when you're really bad about leaving things charged like I am. My phone is much more of a pain when it comes to keeping it charged.

  • Re:Aftermarket ? (Score:4, Informative)

    by muckracer (1204794) on Monday October 12, 2009 @03:23AM (#29716291)

    > Couldn't the aftermarket industry simply offer up a E-Book sleeve/cover that
    > has a built in solar cell

    Great idea. It'll be the future anyway when clothing has solar cells built-in
    and we can charge any device by connecting to our jacket :-)

    A forerunner of that are bags, already available:

    http://www.sakkuus.com/ [sakkuus.com]

  • Re:Aftermarket ? (Score:4, Informative)

    by skine (1524819) on Monday October 12, 2009 @03:27AM (#29716309)

    There are solar chargers available such as the FreeLoader [thinkgeek.com], which are compatible with miniUSB and USB chargers, as well as a few specific devices.

  • by Sockatume (732728) on Monday October 12, 2009 @04:18AM (#29716499)

    The device pictured is built into a Sony Reader housing. It is, in fact, a Sony Reader. The solar cell is the real LG product, aimed at other manufacturers.

  • No, it's not OLED (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Monday October 12, 2009 @04:19AM (#29716503)

    Where do you get OLED from? The press release [lgdisplay.com] doesn't include such a notion. In fact, the press release actually only discusses the solar panel itself, which is sensible given that it's the only part of the device that LG makes. The reader itself is a hacked Sony unit that's only there to demonstrate what the solar panel can power.

  • by JohnBailey (1092697) on Monday October 12, 2009 @05:19AM (#29716737)

    Not to mention the rest of the device -- I'm sure you've seen what happens to plastic left in the sun! That clear plastic screen will look great once it turns yellow. Of course, I imagine it's a) mainly a gimmick and b) designed to die (so we can buy the newer model) long before sun damage...

    Given the most e-ink readers last about a week or more on a single charge, and can charge from a USB port, I'd say the chances of this being a gimmick are pretty high.

  • Re:Aftermarket ? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Monday October 12, 2009 @05:23AM (#29716753)

    That's what the product actually is.

  • Re:Useless (Score:4, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Monday October 12, 2009 @05:24AM (#29716761)

    Modern solar cells don't need "full sunlight" to charge, artificial light would do. Even $1 calculators haven't needed UV in years.

  • Re:Meh (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sockatume (732728) on Monday October 12, 2009 @05:31AM (#29716773)

    You don't HAVE to charge it in sunlight. It'll be fastest that way, but if they're not sourcing solar cells from the early 1990s, it'll work in artificial light. Given that these devices last a couple of weeks on charge, even with a mere 8 hours of crappy fluorescent light sitting on your desk, the battery will probably never run down. And THAT is what I want all my portable electronics to do, especially wireless stuff like Kindles.

  • by Timmmm (636430) on Monday October 12, 2009 @05:56AM (#29716855)

    It's not OLED. It is in fact just a solar panel connected to a Sony PRS-505. Quite a nice idea though.

  • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday October 12, 2009 @06:04AM (#29716881) Journal

    I'm not convinced by your efficiency argument. Decent paper is fairly energy-intensive to produce and so is shipping it. I've read around 200 books and quite a lot of papers (that I would otherwise have printed, read, and then thrown away) on my iLiad since I bought it. I suspect the tree cost of printing and shipping 200 books would be a lot more than the cost of making the device.

    Oh, and these were all creative commons or public domain. There are a huge number of classics on Project Gutenberg that I haven't (or hadn't) read, so no writers were harmed in the reading of these books (although Penguin Classics were slightly).

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