With the recently released Mobius, a sleek new solar battery case for the iPhone 4, Palo Alto-based company Eton has upped the ante on green solutions for mobile devices. Mobius is a huge improvement over previous solar chargers that relied mostly on clunky external designs with limited mobility. Mobius users simply place the case in the sun and charging starts immediately. The pack can also be detached and charged separately, the energy stored for when you need it. An LED readout lets users know how much energy remains, and the pack is equipped with a slide bar to stop charging and save energy. For skeptics afraid of rainy days, Mobius can also be charged via a convenient USB port.
A full charge effectively doubles your battery life with an additional five hours of talk time, or eight hours of either 3G internet or video playback. If you don’t have time for a long charge, one hour in the sun will get you 25 minutes of talk time. Apple has long supported solar solutions, and this is the third Apple-specific device from Eton. Their Soulra and Soulra XL solar-powered speakers are definitely worth a look.
What really impressed us about Mobius was its discreet design and practicality. Doubling as an iPhone protector case, the battery pack is conveniently shaped so as not to interfere with the device’s usability. The hard plastic case feels solid and the battery pack has a comfortable ergonomic design. It’s also seductively slim and lightweight, two advantages that indicate a graceful future for solar power given its relatively cumbersome origins.
Mobius sells through Amazon for around $80.