The Indian market is bursting with solar-powered technology Western consumers are still dreaming of...at prices that will make your jaw drop.
Although more people are using information and communication technologies than ever before, there are still some for whom price and access to sufficient energy supplies are major hindrances to timely adoption.
Despite estimates that it is home to more than a third of the world's impoverished people, India's cities have become hubs of modern technological innovation. Recent announcements about a flurry of solar-powered gadgets hitting the Indian market have some wondering why the same devices are still so hard to find in the West.
$35 Solar-Powered Laptop (above)
Determined to keep pace with the USA's "$100 laptop project," the Indian government is planning to provide thousands of students with solar-powered laptops costing less than half that. The device is reported to have functionality somewhere between a normal laptop and a palm-held tablet (GreenBiz). By negotiating with manufacturers of the Asian solar power systems officials hope to bring the total cost of components down to $20 or even $10 in the future.
$32 Solar-Powered Phone
Indian Vodafone-Essar communications group has launched the VF 247, a phone targeted at India’s huge rural mobile phone market, which is currently witnessing a boom. Dealing with a lack of consistent electricity prevents many rural Indians from carrying mobile phones, but the VF 247 aims to change all that. Using technology known as SunBoost, the phone will charge in the present of both direct sunlight and normal daylight indoors.
$33 Solar-Powered Lamp
Although it might still be too expensive for the millions of young, rural Indians who regularly lose valuable study time due to India’s power shortage problems, the Studylite lamp certainly proves that electricity isn't the only way to light up a room.
Wired.com reports: The Studylite lamp comes with an attached solar panel that charges an NiMH battery lasting up to six hours. But the notorious part of the lamp is the simple halo design, where a ring of 24 LEDs provide the necessary glow.
Many have said that necessity is the mother of invention. Maybe the reason we don't see these affordable solar-powered gadgets in Western homes and offices is simply that they aren't "needed" yet.