Smartphones are awesome, but with a few notable exceptions, it seems their awesomeness is inversely correlated with their battery life. The more powerful a phone is, the faster it dies. Want a beautiful 1080p screen stretched across just five inches of slate? Most of the battery will go towards pushing those pixels. But there's a technology out there that could theoretically free us from the tedious cycle of constant recharging. Chinese electrics company TCL Communication, who owns Alcatel, is working with French company SunPartner to integrate Wysips Crystal technology into smartphone screens. This ultra-thin transparent film draws power from both natural and artificial light. It offers the convenience and renewability of solar panels without the tacky appearance.


Wysips (What You See Is Photovoltaïc Surface) technology has been around for a few years now, attracting attention at CTIA 2011, but it has yet to hit store shelves in a mainstream device. Alcatel's phones and tablets sometimes look rather spiffy but don't always make it to the US. Adopting this technology could be quite the bold move. Our screens are pretty enough now, and for most of us, they already come with more than enough horsepower. We just need better ways to power them.

The Wysips Crystal technology to recharge smartphones via light
is being tested by the Chinese telephone giant TCL Communication

1st August 2013 (Aix-en-Provence, France). TCL Communication, a leading designer and manufacturer of ALCATEL ONETOUCH and TCL branded smartphones, is working with the French company Sunpartner developer of innovative energy solutions based on breakthrough technologies in solar and natural light, to integrate Wysips Crystal technology into its smartphone screens.
The goal of this partnership is to develop smartphone prototypes powered by solar and artificial light. This project will enable TCL Communication to evaluate the technology in both technical and marketing terms.
ALCATEL ONE TOUCH is an international, multicultural brand owned by TCL, and markets its products globally in over 120 countries. Its vision is to create smartphones around individuals lifestyles, enabling end users to do more with a full suite of handsets.
Recall that Wysips (What You See Is Photovoltaïc Surface), a subsidiary of Sunpartner, has invented a revolutionary component capable of transforming any surface into a solar energy-producing medium without changing its look. Wysips Crystal ultra-thin transparent photovoltaic layer, embedded under the screen, supplies enough energy to keep the device charged so you will not run out of power when you need to use your device. Suited to indoor or mobile applications, Wysips technology can be used for mobile phones, tablets, e-readers and other screen devices.
Mobile devices consume an increasing amount of energy due to the growing number of integrated applications. Extending battery life is, therefore, taking on ever-greater importance. Wysips® has added a source of energy production without impacting the design or aesthetics of the product. The transparent photovoltaic component is connected to an electronic chip, which converts and manages the energy produced to charge a mobile phone or tablet battery.
Sunpartner is now designing prototypes for three global leaders in mobile telephony. The company plans to finalize two agreements in the coming months and sign the first licenses during the first half of 2014.

ABOUT Sunpartner
Sunpartner is an engineering firm specializing in solar NETs (New Energy Technologies). It develops pioneering solutions in the field of light energy and smart surfaces and is based in France.
Sunpartner’s revolutionary innovations are based on a transparent photovoltaic component that transforms any medium into an energy-generating surface. This component is developed by its subsidiary Wysips, while its independent solar energy plants based on innovative concentration technology are produced by Axiosun.

For more information, visit online at http://sunpartnergroup.com/

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. The only things he likes sweeter than his tea are his gadgets, and while few objects burn more than a metal phone on a summer day, he prefers them that way anyway.

  • FarmerTechno

    Wouldn't it make more sense to incorporate this into the back of the phone? Or maybe the bezels? Seems like it would reduce the brightness of the screen, forcing MORE power to be drawn from the battery.

    • Dan Lupescu

      howsabout both sides...

      • jordanjay29

        That's too sensible, Dan. Nobody would buy it, it's far too practical, not marketable at all. /s

        • Ben Baranovsky

          Who down-voted this!? It's clearly marked as sarcasm.

          • Mike Harris

            I don't see a downvote.

    • Kent Bodurtha

      hardly. The bezels are getting smaller every generation and it would be great to actually be able to use the phone while its recharging

    • Youri

      well bezels and back are usually coverd by protective cases... unless they make custom lighweight cases with solar panels

    • Steve Freeman

      Really? The back? Do you frequently hold your phone with the back facing upwards, towards a light source?

      • mobilemann

        or we could use one of the million existing external solar panels that are actually made to sit in the sun

  • Meny Beth Terry

    Real Innovation !!

  • Nathan Borup

    Seems like leaving your screen in the sun for long amounts of time would ruin the screen...

  • John Smith

    Neat idea - but leaving the phone in the sun makes it get really hot (and batteries don't like to be hot)

    • firesoul453

      This isn't meant to be your main way of charging it. Its just a little help with batter life.

  • exxe

    It would be great if it can take some energy back via display light itself.

    • Simon

      That would be in fact energy loss

      • exxe

        I said take some energy back eg. recover it, not charging it to max...genius...

        • MrJ2k

          It would be more efficient to just turn the display brightness down than try and 'recover' light that it was producing...
          Energy would be lost in recovery system itself, and therefore be wasting more battery.

    • firesoul453

      Ya it should pick up some of the light waste by the screen on the sides. But that won't help much

    • Mehmet Fatih


    • Ben Baranovsky

      That would be nice. I've had the same thought about powering a car using energy from braking and the wheels turning, but science always gets in the way. Damn science.

      • DanSan

        thats actually how most hybrid cars work. its called regenerative braking and its in cars like the prius. instead of wasting the braking friction to useless energy and heat it is used to reverse the electric motors causing to it to recharge and generate energy.

        very common.

        what would be awesome is a phone that uses the energy and light from its screen to recharge the battery. the phone would be charging every time the screen is turned on and you could theoretically never run out of juice. perfect example of 100% unused waste, pure recycling. the only time the battery would be draining is while the screen is off.

        • Joshua

          I hope you're joking in that final paragraph. That's the electrical equivalent of physical perpetual motion. It's not possible. At all. No technological improvement will ever make that process possible unless we're completely wrong about thermodynamics. Also, I have trouble detecting sarcasm over the internet, so if that paragraph is indeed a joke, you'll have to let me know explicitly.

          • DanSan

            its not perpetual motion, even in an electrical form because you will still need to charge it when the screen is off. Also the it will require power from the device to operate the recharging so there will be energy loss but it can possibly be created to use the waste to power it once again even if its a small amount.

            Same principle hybrid cars are based from. They can only use so much of their waste to recharge but there are times when it is not possible to friction and forces acting against the object.

          • andy_o

            Again, that's not how we do thermodynamics in this universe. Perpetual motion it is.

        • Ben Baranovsky

          Right, but I meant it would be nice if no fuel was necessary and it only ran on itself. Essentially perpetual motion like Josh is talking about. Impossible...for now.

          • DanSan

            of course, i know its impossible. thats why i said you would need to charge it but it might be able to reduce the amount you would need to charge it even by a little.

          • Ben Baranovsky

            Which yes, would be awesome for phones, but I was actually back on the car topic right there. :p

  • deltatux

    Wouldn't the extra charges kill the battery? Batteries only have a rather finite number of charge cycles...

    • Kent Bodurtha

      not a real issue, actually. Batteries should ideally be constantly partially charged


    • Thomas’

      Where is the difference between charging it once daily and charging it over the day?

      In fact, deep cycles are even worse for Li-Ion batteries.

    • Mike Harris

      I've heard this for years, but I've never actually had a battery go bad on me, so I think even if it's true, there are two reasons it might not matter (to me at least):

      1) we replace our phones about once every two years, so the long term effects, if they happen, are never noticeable; and
      2) a battery is really not that expensive to replace.

  • Guillaume ‘XpLoDWilD’

    "To stop receiving e-mail from this sender, click here" Someone forgot to remove the newsletter footer

    • http://bertelking.com/ Bertel King, Jr.

      Poof. Magic.

  • Sanyi

    Yes! I mentioned it to my gf two days ago, and looks life in 5 years it may become mainstream.

  • Matthew Fry

    I will just tape it to my One. GIMME.

  • Elias

    Very interesting if it can charge the phone even with the screen off. I would even get transparent pockets.

  • 36yearold

    Terrible idea that appears again and again. 1. it's transparent, so it's already worse than every solar panel out there including shitty ones. 2. these people greatly underestimate the light density which is quite low and why solar panels are huge. combine these together and you will get a tiny moment of charge after entire day in sun.