AU Optronics unveils THEIR solar-keyboard.
Earlier this week Logitech revealed the K750 solar keyboard. This device uses 2.4 GHz wireless tech and has a lux meter to let you know when light levels are sufficient. It can stay charged for three months in the dark and can even charge from light indoors. Altogether, an elegant solution to the problem of wireless keyboards with crappy batteries.
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Now LCD panel maker AU Optronics has revealed their own 14" solar touchscreen keyboard. It is just 2.1 mm thick, with the solar module built into the notebook cover and keyboard panel. Apparently, this innovation reduces power draw by an impressive 20%. It is due to be showcased in mid-November. No info on cost exists yet, but the Logitech keyboard's $79.99 price-tag is probably a good assumed minimum.
AUO took a very different tactic than Logitech here, and I think they did it wisely. Logitech's keyboard is a cool peripheral. AUO's keyboard is an innovation that could change the face of laptops forever. On my current laptop, a 20% decrease in power draw equates to more than an hour of extra juice.
Solar panels are getting cheaper and more efficient every year. This seems- and it's worth noting that there's been no hands-on trials of any of this yet- like a brilliant way to extend battery life and also provide users with a touchscreen keyboard.
And the solar computing 'trend' doesn't need to stop at keyboards. Imagine a tablet with a solar module built into the screen. Even if it only equates to an hour or two of extra in-use time, the ability to charge a mobile device by just leaving it on the hood of your car is exciting.
These panels also charge off of in-door light, which is great news for college students in lecture classes and frequent international travellers. An extra hour or two of charge on a long flight is a big deal.