Solar-powered netbook coming to the US for $400

Modern netbooks have exceptional run times, but they still need to be plugged into wall sockets when their batteries run dry. Not Samsung's latest. The NC215S sports solar cells on its top panel, and the system is now listed at Amazon for $400. For every two hours in the sun, the solar panel is said to return one hour of battery life. That's not enough to sustain perpetual operation, but it does allow the netbook to run for a purported 14.5 hours on a single charge.

Because glossy screens are nearly impossible to read in direct sunlight, Samsung equips the NC215S with a matte display. The 10.1" panel only has 1024x600 pixels, though. That's typical for modern netbooks, and the rest of the NC215S's specs don't deviate from the norm. A dual-core Atom N570 lurks under the hood with a gig of RAM and a 250GB hard drive. 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity are included, and the whole system tips the scales at under three pounds.

Amazon doesn't have the system in stock just yet, but it'll reportedly be available in August. I'm curious to see how it sells given the relatively tame price tag. Solar power is an interesting avenue for portable devices, although a separate charging unit might make more sense than integrating cells directly into the screen. Getting a good angle on the NC215S's screen is going to be difficult with the lid facing skyward. Thanks to Engadget for the tip.

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