MSI displays solar powered laptop and MP3 player

MSI displays solar powered laptop and MP3 player

Micro-Star International (MSI) is showing off a notebook computer and MP3 player at Cebit that use on-board solar panels to recharge and extend battery life.

The Taiwanese company, known mainly for its motherboards and graphics cards, said the products are experimental, and it doesn't expect to put them on sale.

They were an attempt to dabble in ways to provide power to portable devices in remote areas and recharge batteries, areas the company's research team had been focusing on, product manager for the notebook computer division, Marc Chen, said.

The lid of the laptop is covered with solar panels so that even when it's closed, it's still gathering the sun's energy.

The system needs a voltage converter to adapt the output of the solar cells to the laptop's battery charging circuitry.

The main trouble with using solar panels, however, is cost. A user would have to pay two or three times the standard price of a notebook computer for one equipped with solar cells, Chen said.

The stumbling blocks haven't discouraged MSI, though. The company plans to continue developing the idea and is looking for partners in Japan.

The company's other solar device, the Solar Cell MP3 player, a version of its MSI Mega Player 540 that has 4GB of storage capacity, is also too expensive to consider for mass production, executives said. It extends battery life by three hours and can recharge the battery.

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