Kyocera signs deal for solar-powered smartphone technology

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Kyocera is to explore the possibilities of solar-powered smartphones after it was announced last week that the company has agreed a close partnership with Sunpartner, developer of the Wysips Crystal technology.

French company Sunpartner has revealed that Japan’s Kyocera has signed a deal to evaluate its Wysips technology from a "technical and marketing" standpoint – a deal that could potential lead the way towards solar-powered touch screens that can be used in smartphones, tablets and e-readers.

The Wysips Crystal technology was unveiled in 2011, but this is the first time that a global player in the PV industry has showed tangible interest in the technology. According to Sunpartner, Kyocera will work alongside its scientists to improve the technology and adapt the technical characteristics of the PV components to enable diversified roll-out in a number of markets worldwide.

"We are delighted to partner with Kyocera as we consider Japanese industrials as key strategic partners for Sunpartner, with very high technological expertise," said Sunpartner Technologies co-founder and president Ludovic Deblois. "We plan to open an application laboratory in Japan next year in order to be closer to our customers, and hope that this partnership will generate numerous products and technical synergies."

The Wysips Crystal technology can be integrated into a touchscreen at the manufacturing stage, layered either above or below the glass. Its PV element works with sunlight and other forms of light, delivering an "always on" performance that means the battery has a permanent reserve of energy.

Tech giants Apple has recently begun exploring the use of solar power in its handheld devices, and in June applied for a patent at the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for a display technology that harvests solar energy and that, the company hopes, may soon be compatible for touchscreen devices, bringing to an end the era of the dead phone.