The Solio may not have been the first solar charger, but its appealing design and useful interchangeable tip system gave portable power packs a much-needed popularity boost. Transferring the juice from a charger to a smartphone or media player can be a time-consuming affair, though ... time that could be spent listening to the music stored on the device. SolLight's solution is to combine a lightweight carry pouch, a solar charger and some stereo speakers into something called the SoliCharger-SP.
The first time I came across a set of speakers married with a solar-powered charging solution was a DIY effort on the Instructables platform in 2009. It works, but it's not prettiest or most practical way to charge a mobile phone and listen to some music. The SoliCharger-SP is much neater.
The charger's 1,500mAh lithium-ion battery is said to have enough jungle juice to fully charge almost any phone or music player in under an hour. Before doling out its power payload, though, the charger's own internal battery will need to be charged up. This can be done from a mains outlet, via USB from a laptop or computer, or users could take advantage of the included 5.5v/70mA epoxy-coated photovoltaic panel (although it will take a good 20 to 30 hours of exposure to direct sunlight before the battery reaches full charge). Internal circuitry is in place to prevent overcharging and to manage the flow of power in and out.
The charger's solar panel is housed in a tough Cordura case, that can be used to zip up and protect a smartphone or media player when not in use. The case is also home to a pair of stereo speakers, which can provide some audio entertainment from the connected device while it receives charge from the SoliCharger-SP.
The 7 x 4 x 1.5-inch (17.7 x 10.1 x 3.8 cm) SoliCharger-SP is available from December 1st at a cost of US$59.95, and comes supplied with a 32-pin adapter for iDevices, and adapters for standard USB, mini-USB and micro-USB.