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First Laptop With Full-Sized Solar Panels Will Run On Ubuntu

Soulskill posted about 9 months ago | from the not-sure-i-have-the-acreage-for-it dept.

Portables 155

iwritethings writes "The Sol, a rugged-looking laptop with built-in foldable solar panels is designed for use in the military, education and developing countries where electricity is scarce. The Canada-based makers behind the Sol claim that the device can run directly off solar energy or can harness the sun's rays to charge the laptop's battery in under two hours. Once fully charged, the battery is expected to last between eight and 10 hours. While the concept of solar charging gadgets isn't new, this type of battery life is unprecedented. There's no word on when Sol will launch, but its headed to Ghana first, and it will run Ubuntu Linux."

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155 comments

Matte screen (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493455)

Hope it comes with a matte screen. A glossy screen would be unusable out in the sun.

Re:Matte screen (2)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | about 9 months ago | (#44493587)

Seriously, I wonder if they thought this out. Has anyone ever tried using a laptop in the sun? You can't even see the screen cupping your hands over part of it.

Maybe LED backlighting could get it barely bright enough without sucking down the battery in 3 minutes.

Re:Matte screen (4, Insightful)

niftydude (1745144) | about 9 months ago | (#44493705)

Whatever happen to those colour E-ink screens Pixel Qi was working on? They would be perfect

I was at a conference last year where some japanese guys were working on a microfluidic transflective displays - they are essentially as bright as the ambient light level is - those would also be pretty good for this.

Come on people - we need low power daylight readable screens already.

Samsung NC215s (4, Informative)

iamhassi (659463) | about 9 months ago | (#44493923)

Samsung NC215s is the world's first solar laptop way back in 2011. [liliputing.com]

It's on Amazon with real reviews [amazon.com] and here's a customer unboxing video [youtube.com]

Article mentions the NC215s but claims it didn't have a 10 hour battery life [laptopmag.com] while this review says the NC215s did have a 10 hour battery life [itweb.co.za]... not that it really matters if the laptop can run on sunlight.... unless you're visiting the Arctic I suppose

Re:Matte screen (3, Funny)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 months ago | (#44494283)

Has anyone ever tried using a laptop in the sun?

This is Slashdot. We haven't even been in the sun.

Maybe LED backlighting could get it barely bright enough without sucking down the battery in 3 minutes.

My 2.8ghz 17" Macbook Pro probably consumes around 30 watts for normal usage, so with a 13" screen and lower powered everything, I would imagine this laptop would do fine - especially if they were to replace the hard drive with an SSD. Unless there has been a dramatic improvement in solar panel technology, I believe you should be able to get about 10 watts per square foot of panel, right? This looks like it has around 1.5sqft of solar panel, so while it might not be able to run continuously on solar power, using it in the sun should certainly supplement a fully charged cell such that it could run all day long without another charge?

Re:Matte screen (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#44494615)

I wonder if they thought to make the solar panels attachable by cable so you can at least take the thing inside while it's charging.

Re:Matte screen (1)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | about 8 months ago | (#44495011)

Has anyone ever tried using a laptop in the sun?

Yeah, I'm using one in the sun almost daily and it sucks. Luckily, mine has a mate screen. Unfortunately, there seems to be only one company, California-based Clover Systems [cloversystems.com] who sell laptops with Pixelq screen (except for OLPC who are unusable for serious work). There modded netbooks are a bit pricey, though. Still I'm tempted to order one some day.

So yes, without a display that is readable in sunlight, their solar panel laptop will not be very useful.

Re:Matte screen (1)

Skapare (16644) | about 9 months ago | (#44493607)

Or maybe add in an ability to use sunlight as the display back lighting.

Re:Matte screen (1)

niftydude (1745144) | about 9 months ago | (#44493715)

Or maybe add in an ability to use sunlight as the display back lighting.

You scoff - but that is what transflective displays are supposed to do - we just need someone to get one working outside the lab.

Re:Matte screen (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 9 months ago | (#44493795)

If you don't want any of that fancy "color" nonsense that the kids are talking about these days, you can get transflective displays limited only by the fact that people <em>do</em> want that fancy color nonsense which has largely consigned black and white LCDs to the very low end and TI-83s...<br><br>

A pity the XO-1's screen tech never saw broader adoption. Serviceable color with the backlight on, beautiful, crisp, B/W with ambient light only(looks almost as 'paper-like' as e-ink; but with TFT refresh rates).

Re:Matte screen (1)

Ed Avis (5917) | about 9 months ago | (#44494563)

Panasonic's Toughbook rugged laptops have colour transflective displays. But the colours start looking washed out in bright sunlight, so perhaps the transflective part is black and white only somehow. And the readability in direct sunlight is not quite what the marketing wants you to believe - you're still better off finding some shade.

Re:Matte screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44494043)

get one out of the lab? we use them for freaking 40 years now

Re:Matte screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493647)

Have you actually _used_ a laptop with a matte screen in the sun?

It instantly washes out, and you can't see _anything_.
A glossy screen may have some reflection, but it doesn't wash out to the same degree a matte one does.

I've used both, and much prefer glossy in the sun.

Re:Matte screen (2, Interesting)

Dereck1701 (1922824) | about 9 months ago | (#44493863)

Who says you need to use it in sunlight? Use it for a for however long you want indoors/under shade and then put it outside to charge. According to the article/summary it has a 10 hour battery life (probably embellished to be sure, but it probably lasts at least 6 under normal usage). If the designers are really clever, they'll give it two separate battery packs, one that stays with the laptop and one that is attached to an undockable solar module. Use the laptop indoors (theoretical 5 hour battery life) while you leave the solar module in the sun. Re-dock the solar module and it starts transferring at least partial power back to the laptops batteries (not sure how well laptop battery packs can transfer +90% of their power to another battery but 50/50 distribution should be relatively easy) so you can place the solar module back in the sun more quickly.

Re:Matte screen (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 months ago | (#44494301)

Simply make the panels detachable and offer a length of USB cord so you can use it while it is charging as long as you're within about twelve feet of a window in any room you're in (just slap the detachable panels up on the window during the day).

Re:Matte screen (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44494917)

Read the FAQ.

A) They got an extension cord so you can sit inside your tent.
B) You can charge the laptop and THEN work afterwords.

Re:Matte screen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44494991)

Hope it comes with a matte screen. A glossy screen would be unusable out in the sun.

And a transflective diplay....

Seems like a terrible design (5, Insightful)

SSpade (549608) | about 9 months ago | (#44493481)

A separate set of solar panels could be used to power / charge things other than a laptop, and a set of solar panels connected by a cable would let you sit in the cool shade while using the laptop during the day, rather than having to sit out in the sun (where it's hot and you can't see the screen).

Assuming it's real, which I have some doubts about - a couple of square feet of solar panels provides enough power to drive four or five laptops?

Re:Seems like a terrible design (-1, Offtopic)

fde eaf (3008585) | about 9 months ago | (#44493609)

How can have so powerful laptop batteries?http://onlyhermes.com.I'm really looking forward to it!

Convenience factor (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#44493667)

Assuming it's real, which I have some doubts about

Since power usage from laptops and power output from panels that size have been converging if this isn't real I'm sure something along these lines will be happening soon.

A separate set of solar panels ... a couple of square feet of solar panels provides enough power to drive four or five laptops?

Yes, that's the 1980 onwards solution, maybe with bigger panels, but this thing is about it being more convenient, like having an internal disk drive instead of a USB one. I'm assuming the usage pattern is to stick the thing in the sun when you are not using it to charge up the battery and to run it off battery in the shade when in use.

Re: Convenience factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493739)

i can't imagine much worse thing to do to a laptop than stick it in the sun.

well at least finally the throwaway documentation won't say to keep the thing out of direct sunlight.

Re:Seems like a terrible design (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 9 months ago | (#44493799)

Great, if in addition to carrying your laptop where ever you go, you also need to carry a laptop sized solar panel just incase your battery goes flat.

By that reasoning laptops in general a terrible design. Why not make the keyboard and screen separate? You could then use a KVM to control many computers with just one keyboard and monitor!

Re:Seems like a terrible design (1)

Camael (1048726) | about 9 months ago | (#44493875)

Great, if in addition to carrying your laptop where ever you go, you also need to carry a laptop sized solar panel just incase your battery goes flat.

By that reasoning laptops in general a terrible design. Why not make the keyboard and screen separate? You could then use a KVM to control many computers with just one keyboard and monitor!

Keyboards and screens of laptops are by design combined together for ease of carriage. You only have to lug around one unit together, which comprises your cpu, your monitor and the keyboard. This is important for a mobile user who only has two hands.

Presumably this is also the reason why they decided to combine the solar panels with the laptop in TFA.

I hope you also see the inconsistency of wanting to separate the keyboard from the screen (inconveniently creating more objects to lug around) while complaining against using separate solar panels because you dont like having more objects to lug around.

Re:Seems like a terrible design (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 9 months ago | (#44494613)

You seem to have misunderstood.

I was comparing using a separate solar panel to a separate keyboard/monitor to illustrate the inconvenience.

Re:Seems like a terrible design (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#44493893)

Great, if in addition to carrying your laptop where ever you go, you also need to carry a laptop sized solar panel just incase your battery goes flat.

If you could fold it the size of your laptop, I could see it being quite handy.

How about the little tables with umbrellas in front of your favorite cafe's doubling as solar laptop charging stations? You and your laptop are protected from the sun's rays while you plug in and sip your espresso. The top of the umbrella is about the right size for a solar panel that could power a couple of laptops.

Re:Seems like a terrible design (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 9 months ago | (#44494601)

So now you need to carry a solar umbrella?
Instead of the foldable separate solar panel, why not carry a laptop sized battery, giving you several days* worth of power.

* the battery in the laptop I'm typing on is about 10% the size of the laptop, giving 5 hours use. If it were 10x bigger it would give 50 hours.

Re:Seems like a terrible design (5, Informative)

pla (258480) | about 9 months ago | (#44493843)

a couple of square feet of solar panels provides enough power to drive four or five laptops?

My PC draws under 45W average, and around 20W idle. At my latitude, that would require about 4 square feet (as in, 2x2, not 4x4), and I live pretty far North.

Computers have gotten a lot more efficient since the bad ol' days of the P4, and solar panels have gotten a lot cheaper (like under $2/W). Given a laptop specifically designed for low power, I have no trouble considering this an entirely realistic design goal - An 8sqft 100W panel and a few laptops that draw 10-20W? You could probably even manage it with OEM hardware, never mind anything hardcore optimized for power.

Re:Seems like a terrible design (1)

Seumas (6865) | about 9 months ago | (#44494307)

Wait. Your *PC*? A laptop or a desktop? My laptop runs around 25-30 watts normal usage, but even at idle my desktop runs about 250 watts...

Re:Seems like a terrible design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44494453)

He's probably not counting the monitor. You probably have an inefficient graphics card and it (and possibly the CPU too) are not doing any power saving when idle.

I have a quad-core Xeon workstation with 24GB RAM and 3x 2TB SATA RAID which draws about 60W at normal idle on a busy 1000baseT LAN, not counting LCDs.

Re:Seems like a terrible design (1)

icebike (68054) | about 9 months ago | (#44494607)

Wait. Your *PC*? A laptop or a desktop? My laptop runs around 25-30 watts normal usage, but even at idle my desktop runs about 250 watts...

How do you know what It draws at idle?
Unless you've put an ammeter in line on the power cord you're just reading the label or guessing.

Putting a strip chart recording ammeter in line on hundreds of pc models we learned that they never get close to drawing what the power supply was ratrd for. We would monitor the mains cord and load the nastiest work load we could find. The worst power draw happens the instant you turn it on, while its spinning up the drive and loading the os. After that, you really have to try to get computer to draw half of the rating of the power supply. (Because UL won't approve any machine that can possibly get near its power supply rating.)

At idle, most computers drew less than 5watts.

  That was 10 years ago, and a lot has changed for the better since then.

Re:Seems like a terrible design (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44494797)

Holy balls, where do you get this inefficient components?

A common laptop (i.e., not even one with low-power CPUs, but without dedicated graphics and with LED backlight) draws around 10-15 Watt nowadays (more under full load, granted, but you rarely need that).

Desktop PCs should be around 100 Watt including (again LED) display.

Re:Seems like a terrible design (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about 9 months ago | (#44494051)

A separate set of solar panels could be used to power / charge things other than a laptop

And all you need is a team of electrical engineers to help you set them up.

Believe it when I see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493491)

just looking at the images broke my bullshit-o-meter

Re:Believe it when I see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493569)

Physics is a bitch, isn't she.

Re:Believe it when I see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493639)

Eh? Rule of thumb, 10sqin == 1Wp.
Eyeball mk1 says they have roughly 200sqin of cells, so about 20W.
So under optimal conditions that could charge a 35Wh LiPo in 2h.
Can a Atom "notebook" (really a overgrown netbook...) run at under 3.5W average?
Yup. At minimum screen brightness and while doing absolutely nothing. But again under optimal conditions it could be done.
Conclusion: Not impossible, just the usual "under laboratory conditions, while squinting really hard" marketing fluff numbers.

Re:Believe it when I see it (1)

AnujMore (2009920) | about 9 months ago | (#44493685)

Looks like this thing runs Unity (from the images). Doesn't sound fun to me.

Would rather install something minimalist and try to run it first. If it can run Unity, it can definitely run something more lightweight.

Re:Believe it when I see it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44494023)

What's a "Wp", fucktard?

Re:Believe it when I see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44494137)

Watt peak, numbnut.

Re:Believe it when I see it (2)

TooTechy (191509) | about 9 months ago | (#44493717)

All the images looked CGI to me. I could not see an actual product image there. I infer that the product is still vaporware.

Anyone actually have a link to a real world image?

In a nutshell (1)

houbou (1097327) | about 9 months ago | (#44493509)

I WANT ONE! :) :) :)

Re:In a nutshell (5, Funny)

Skapare (16644) | about 9 months ago | (#44493615)

I want you to have one. You obviously need a new caps lock key.

Re:In a nutshell (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493779)

Thanks, i needed that laugh. :D

ME TOO! (1)

kf6auf (719514) | about 9 months ago | (#44494827)

I NEED A NEW ONE TOO!!!! MY OLD CAPS LOCK KEY STOPPED WORKING (CAN'T IMAGINE WHY) AND IT'S SO MUCH HARDER TO TYPE WITHOUT IT.

(stupid filter has no sense of humor)
(stupid filter has no sense of humor)
(stupid filter has no sense of humor)
(stupid filter has no sense of humor)

great (0, Flamebait)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 9 months ago | (#44493537)

So instead of helping fix the corrupt government, environmental problems, and industrial chain problems we're going to give third world people these so they can run internet scams and probably try to turn it into a bomb. Great idea.

Education (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 9 months ago | (#44493577)

Education is the key to fixing that kind of crap. Getting computers capable of connecting to the internet to everyone will help. One of the reasons it was so easy to keep people living in serfdom, was because people didn't know any better. Teach people that there is a better way to live by showing them, not only showing the how and you (I know it sounds jingoistic) set free. There is a reason despots and dictators move to control the media/radio/television stations when they start their coup. To control information is to control the people. Getting computers and internet connections to everyone short circuits that whole big pile of bullshit.

Re:great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493589)

Something tells me you are from USA.

Re:great (1)

gmuslera (3436) | about 9 months ago | (#44493621)

The solution for fixing corrupt governments is education, not have so much dumb people that keep voting the same government despite being evident what is coming. And a cheap computers running in solar power is a step (not sure how big, but a step) toward solving some environmental problems. Regarding people chained by the scammers of the industry, well, i don't think it would help a lot.

Re: great (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493765)

i think we're alluding to the definition of insanity here!

Re:great (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#44493693)

Think about the disaster in New Orleans - communication and problems with logisitics were what turned the aftermath into an enormous fuckup with a hidden death toll because it was just so embarrassing that the third world could handle it better. Laptops, phone systems etc are infrastructure that helps fix problems. If emails could have been sent in New Orleans food would have got to the right places instead of rotting in the wrong ones.

Re:great (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 9 months ago | (#44493815)

So instead of helping fix the corrupt government, environmental problems, and industrial chain problems you're posting anonymous comments on slashdot. Great idea.

If it's real... (1)

abroadwin (1273704) | about 9 months ago | (#44493579)

It's going in my emergency bag. Looks like a perfect emergency and/or post-apocalyptic laptop.

Re:If it's real... (1)

Clsid (564627) | about 9 months ago | (#44493755)

Better get this stuff, http://www.aliexpress.com/item/HOT-High-Capacity-23000mAh-Solar-Charger-Solar-Mobile-Power-Bank-Battery-Charger-for-iPhone-iPad-Tablet/928368152.html [aliexpress.com]

It works for a lot more stuff and you can leave the cell out in the sun while you use your laptop in the shade.

Re:If it's real... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44494181)

A 6S pack of 3800mAh lipos sitting in the sun being charged by who knows what kind of cruddy charging circuit, what could possibly go wrong...

Re:If it's real... (1)

Clsid (564627) | about 9 months ago | (#44494469)

You might be right, but you can also leave it near the window and it would do the trick as well.

Re:If it's real... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 9 months ago | (#44493881)

'scuse me for asking: why would you need a laptop in a post-apocalyptic world? Even an electric powered bycicle will be more useful than the laptop.

Re:If it's real... (1)

abroadwin (1273704) | about 9 months ago | (#44493925)

Well, it has built-in GPS, so I could load it up with maps, survival guides, etc... but who am I kidding? It's more because I'm an engineer and I think it would give me +5 sanity.

Re:If it's real... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 9 months ago | (#44494007)

Well, it has built-in GPS, so I could load it up with maps, survival guides, etc... but who am I kidding?

Sincerity appreciated

It's more because I'm an engineer and I think it would give me +5 sanity.

Mhhh... a bit more pragmatism wouldn't hurt even an engineer (wait... what? aren't they supposed to be pragmatic to start with?).
Like health first, sanity later [wikipedia.org]: a solution to filter/disinfect drinking water would rank higher than even a map (can go on living if you don't know where you are, won't stay alive for long with dysintery. Even an infected scratch on your foot may disable you for days). A post-apocalypse situation is likely to keep you so busy it's almost a guarantee it'll keep you sane.

Re:If it's real... (1)

abroadwin (1273704) | about 9 months ago | (#44494309)

I already have all that covered. I have a very well stocked survival bag (the list of contents is very long, but it's a surprisingly reasonable weight). I am quite pragmatic :)

Re:If it's real... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 9 months ago | (#44494385)

I already have all that covered. I have a very well stocked survival bag (the list of contents is very long, but it's a surprisingly reasonable weight). I am quite pragmatic :)

Then, instead of a laptop, you'd already considered a reliable ebook reader, haven't you? Not like you'd be using the CPU power of a laptop to compute the strenght of the structure to support the sod you'll be using on the roof of your first built cabin (somewhere hidden, probably in the mountains somewhere).

Re:If it's real... (1)

Hamsterdan (815291) | about 9 months ago | (#44493971)

Pornsites will probably still be available :)

Re:If it's real... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 9 months ago | (#44494037)

Pornsites will probably still be available :)

Except that, being highly likely a geek will be "forcefully recruited as a worker" on such sites, the lap top term will suddenly gain a totally different meaning... one in which "solar power" is an irrelevant attribute.

Re:If it's real... (2)

tftp (111690) | about 9 months ago | (#44494103)

'scuse me for asking: why would you need a laptop in a post-apocalyptic world?

Knowledge will be the most valuable asset after the collapse of the civilization. Do you know off the top of your head how to make powder? No, not the smokeless propellant - just the good old black powder? It's not entirely trivial; many a powder plant blew up before scientists and engineers figured out how to work with it in relative safety. Or take the initiating explosives, such as primers. There are about twenty formulations known to man today; some are obsolete, some are OK, some are top notch. Do you know how to make one? Without a primer you will be relegated to flint locks, if not to muskets with ignition from a cord.

There will be a lot of technology left over after the collapse. Most of it will need repair. Who would readily remember how to disassemble, repair and put back together a certain pump? If you have a manual, you are golden. But the most valuable repair manual is the manual on repair of humans. Do you have medical ebooks in your collection? It just happens that I have a few broad references; not enough for brain surgery, but enough to deal with everyday injuries and diseases.

But where would you store all those Libraries of Congress with all that valuable data, in such a way that you can carry it, and in such a way that you can access it easily? A laptop with a terabyte drive would do it nicely. A bicycle, outside of a direct survival situation, does not even compare. But in a survival situation nothing matters except what helps you to survive. It doesn't mean that canned food is useless if you are, at this very moment, shooting at your pursuers.

Re:If it's real... (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 9 months ago | (#44494337)

'scuse me for asking: why would you need a laptop in a post-apocalyptic world?

Knowledge will be the most valuable asset after the collapse of the civilization. [etc] But where would you store all those Libraries of Congress with all that valuable data, in such a way that you can carry it, and in such a way that you can access it easily? A laptop with a terabyte drive would do it nicely.

An ebook reader is likely to be lighter and offer better battery life (assuming that such equipment survives an EMP... but now, it all depends on your taste in apocalypses).

A bicycle, outside of a direct survival situation, does not even compare. But in a survival situation nothing matters except what helps you to survive. It doesn't mean that canned food is useless if you are, at this very moment, shooting at your pursuers.

Survival comes first, no argue here.
Except it takes quite a lot to survive: if you are going to die because of bacteria in the water you need to drink - 3-4 days of disabling diahorea will weaken you fast enough - your knowledge to make primers is useless.
Or if you can't travel long, fast, reliable and perhaps stealthy enough to a "niche" not desired by the competitors (the ones you are shooting at... do you think you have time to make black powder or primers while on the run?) and survive in there until the opportunists cooled enough - hopefuly returning to the soil the nitrogen stored by their DNA.
It will take years of survival before you'd be stable to make use of the knowledge stored by a laptop (did I mention the ebook reader? Yes I did) - even a hammer may be more useful until then.

~400$ submersible netbook? (1)

Irick (1842362) | about 9 months ago | (#44493583)

That seems a bit more exciting then the whole solar power thing, but I suppose that's cool too.

Re:~400$ submersible netbook? (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about 9 months ago | (#44493937)

That seems a bit more exciting then the whole solar power thing,

Err...

but I suppose that's cool too.

Nope. If/when exposed to the sun than it will get warm. Submerging it is likely to keep it cool (that is: unless you use a hot liquids or liquified gases at atmosferic pressure)

(...ducks... just kinding guys...)

But wait, there's more! (2)

Dputiger (561114) | about 9 months ago | (#44493599)

For just $350, you can buy a laptop with implausible capabilities at an improbable price point! But does it clean with the power of lemon?

Yes. Yes it does.

Re:But wait, there's more! (2)

gman003 (1693318) | about 9 months ago | (#44493961)

Actually, other than the solar panels, this is a completely plausible machine. Ultracheap 13" 1366x768 display? Check. Ultracheap, low-power Atom? Check. Less RAM than my laptop from five years ago? Check. Cheap disk drive, not pricey flash? Check.

And don't forget, they're probably getting some subsidies, just like the other "cheap computer for the Third World" projects.

FINALLY! (2)

chromaexcursion (2047080) | about 9 months ago | (#44493623)

Leave it to an African company to understand, and try to get it as right as they can.
Living off the grid is not easy.
In the tropics the sun shines hard. Solar charging is a no brainer.

Fortunately I only live off the grid for a week or 3 when I'm doing interesting travel.

Re:FINALLY! (1)

gmhowell (26755) | about 9 months ago | (#44493993)

Leave it to an African company to understand, and try to get it as right as they can.

Canada is in Africa now? Boy, the maple syrup drinkers are gonna be surprised at that one.

Hmm.. (1)

skepticle (2931641) | about 9 months ago | (#44493629)

$350 each? $400 for the "Marine" model. Let me guess. That one is a solar powered laptop that is water resistant to 2000m, right? This looks like some sort of elaborate scam... something high quality and innovative for the same price as a Walmart laptop... Hm. And seriously, Intel GMA gfx? Ah well, guess that's one way to save power. Nice web page though. Love the parallax scrolling and the elephant. :P Anyways here's some doubt to chew on: http://www.extremetech.com/computing/163184-sol-the-350-solar-powered-rugged-ubuntu-laptop-that-wont-be-usable-in-the-sun [extremetech.com]

Read the fine print :) (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 9 months ago | (#44493709)

That one is a solar powered laptop that is water resistant to 2000m*

*Bathysphere not included

The specs... (4, Informative)

afxgrin (208686) | about 9 months ago | (#44493651)

I don't like their website design, I find it annoying to navigate. :P

http://solaptop.com/en/products/laptops/ [solaptop.com]

        System

                CPU: Intel Atom D2500 1.86 GHz Duo Core, Intel 945GSE + ICH7M
                HDD: Seagate 2.5” SATA HDD 320GB
                RAM: Kingston 2-4GB DDRIII SDRAM (Options Available)
                Graphics: 1080p HD Vide, Built-In Intel GMA3600 Graphics
                Battery Operating Time: 8 - 10 hours

        I/O

                Display: 13.3" LCD, WXGA, 1366 x 768
                Camera: 3MP
                Audio: Realtek ALC661 HD Audio, Built-in 2 Speakers | Internal mic + 1/8” input
                3 USB2.0, Headphone jack, HDMI, LAN(10/100), Card reader (SD/MS/MMC)

        Wireless

                Modem: 3G/4G World/multimode LTE
                GPS: gpsOne Gen8A
                WiFi: MIMO 802.11b/gn (2.4/5GHz)
                Bluetooth: Integrated Digital Core BT4.0

Re:The specs... (1)

Chewy509 (1178715) | about 9 months ago | (#44494249)

CPU: Intel Atom D2500 1.86 GHz Duo Core, Intel 945GSE + ICH7M

Atom D25xx and D26xx being CedarView based CPUs all have PowerVR SGX545 based GPUs (aka GMA3600), so does this mean that PowerVR has developed a working Linux / X11 driver for the GPU, or have they simply disabled the PowerVR GPU and using the GPU from the 945GSE chipset?

Seems a waste on many levels to have disabled silicon on the CPU and using the GPU from the chipset...

IMHO, they would have been better off using the Atom N570, despite losing some clock speed, the N570 GPU is 100% supported by the Intel graphics drivers and works extremely well under Linux. (My N570 power netbook running Arch would easily get 7-8 hours with light coding / web browsing and 5-6 hours watching videos). Alternativeely one of the AMD APUs would also have been an excellent fit for what they are trying to do.

Save Frequently (5, Funny)

cdxta (1170917) | about 9 months ago | (#44493661)

Every time a cloud goes over you're going to loose your work, or is your work in the cloud?

Re:Save Frequently (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493947)

Every time a cloud goes over you're going to loose your work, or is your work in the cloud?

Cloud or not, I'm not setting my work loose: either I set it free or keep it in a tight leash.

Re:Save Frequently (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493991)

Between being "designed for use by the military" and having "built in GPS", you might have more then the cloud to worry about on losing your work. The MAFIAA having paid to force location reporting, am sure they will push for GPS inclusion as well when available, won't even have to hack it specifically to target it with a missile/drone. Mental exercise for you, how many different ways can that be obtained/avoided? Think it can't be done with this or cellular GPS?

device running *on* Ubuntu (2)

wylf (657051) | about 9 months ago | (#44493727)

Last time I checked, software (i.e. the OS) ran on the hardware, not the other way around.

And if this thing is just a solar charger - admittedly a pretty cool one - where's the linux tie-in? My USB charger works with my phone (that runs on Android*, incidentally). Does that make it big Android news?

* yes, I see what I did. wonder why...

Full Sized solar panel? (1)

rossdee (243626) | about 9 months ago | (#44493731)

Solar panels come in many sizes,so how big is a full sized one? Big enough to cover the roof of your house? A football field?

Does the solar power industry have a standard definition of what full size is?

Errrr.... (3, Insightful)

sunking2 (521698) | about 9 months ago | (#44493743)

Pretty sure that Ubuntu will run on the laptop. The laptop will run on the Sun.

Re:Errrr.... (1)

havana9 (101033) | about 9 months ago | (#44494671)

Could you run Ubuntu on the Sun? I think Solaris runs better on a Sun tha Ubuntu. Besides I think running Solaris on a solar powered laptop is more cool than a fez and a bowtie.

Tell me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44493855)

Tell me when It can play Team Foretress 2 and other games at a good framerate, or encode videos, or run some VM's

hot and heavy (1)

ClassicASP (1791116) | about 9 months ago | (#44493889)

solar panels are probably heavy. thats a lot of extra weight to have to carry around, and then its a device that only works at its best when the sun is shining and its really hot outside, plus it generates more head when you use it. and forget about working in the shade; thats out. if this is for military application, i'd hate to be the guy who has to carry and use this thing. i'd rather be the guy who carrys the M60. probably equally as heavy, and a lot more fun!

PowerBook 1400 (3, Interesting)

martinX (672498) | about 9 months ago | (#44493987)

Apple's PowerBook 1400 had a removable book cover style lid so you could put in pretty pictures etc. A company called Keep It Simple Systems made a solar panel that slipped right in. (TidBITS article here [tidbits.com]). Here's a quote from MacFormat magazine describing it (source [wordpress.com]):

The PowerCover is especially neat because it fits into the BookCover slot on PowerBook 1400s, so you can leave it on more or less permanently. This will extend the battery life by around 35% (the PowerCover is, after all, a bit smaller than the Mercury II). KISS claims you can expect its products to give you up to 20 years of free energy. An extreme example of these devices’ usefulness is that of Ralph Harvey, a research scientist who uses a solar charger on his PowerBook in the Antarctic where power’s clearly at a premium. [...]

Re:PowerBook 1400 (1)

evilviper (135110) | about 9 months ago | (#44494521)

An extreme example of these devicesâ(TM) usefulness is that of Ralph Harvey, a research scientist who uses a solar charger on his PowerBook in the Antarctic where powerâ(TM)s clearly at a premium.

Sounds like a horrible use. Solar insolation near the poles is going to be miserable. Less than 1/4 than the rest of the world would get.

Ubuntu, who cares (0)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 9 months ago | (#44494011)

If the article said that it would run Linux, I would take it seriously. But when it says Ubuntu, I just read Shuttleworth self-aggrandizement.

Avoid like the dog (1)

pokoteng (2729771) | about 9 months ago | (#44494045)

Props for everything except for choice of CPU and thus GPU; Intel D2500 atoms don't have the usual Intel graphics, but rather rely on PowerVR chipset, which isn't so well supported. I'm even surprised they can actually have Ubuntu on it; good luck trying it with any other distros, or at least, painlessly. Perhaps GMA3600 is a lot better supported? At least it sin't GMA500, which has complete dog support for anything.

Plenty of features to go around (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 9 months ago | (#44494059)

and they focus on a touchpad, brilliant!

though not as brilliant as a glossy screen on a solar powered laptop

Niggers getting spied on... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#44494075)

Hope they Dash to install another DE... or OS.

Aran Benjo Computer (1)

havana9 (101033) | about 9 months ago | (#44494689)

This is the Aran Benjo computer. I see a jerkass giant robot pilot surrounded by pretty girls using this PC. The only proble is that it will boot only at the end of episode, just in time to control the final superweapon and destroy the cyborg of the week.
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