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With March welcoming the first cloudless days of 2010, I can't be the only one to notice certain people thinking that this warrants cracking out the shortest shorts and the tightest tanktops, despite the still freezing temperatures. With enough power to source the world's energy consumption 1,000 times over, solar is undoubtedly an underused energy source. So, if you want to enjoy the early blue skies without losing any of your limbs to frostbite, then let these solar powered gadgets soak up the sun while you stay safely wrapped up.


Novothink.jpgThere were loads of iPhone solar chargers at CES this year but this is one from Novothink is probably the best. It fits snugly on to your phone and can deliver thirty minutes of power for two hours of charging. It doesn't have to be connected to the iPhone to charge and if the sun isn't playing you can charge it up via USB.

It goes on sale soon in Europe including the UK, for 80 (not 8 as it says in the video) Euros. It comes with a free app that works out how much you need to use the sun to charge the battery depending on where in the world you are. See video after the turn.

sony ericsson greenheart.jpgDriving the eco-bandwagon into the mobile phone market, Sony Ericsson has just gone and launched a pair of green phones today, the Sony Ericsson Elm and the Hazel, writes ShinyShiny's Anna Leach.

Elm and Hazel like the trees - the nice green trees.

"The Sony Ericsson Elm and the Sony Ericsson Hazel phones offer consumers a green choice without compromising on features or fun" say the company in a press release.

So, names aside, what's so green about these handsets?

1. Less energy and raw materials are used in their manufacture and packing:

- Made out of recycled plastics
- Free from hazardous chemicals
- The instructions booklet is not printed on paper but is an e-manual in phone
- Packaging has been minimised

2. The Greenheart phones are designed to be more energy-efficient

- Low power consumption charger (EP300 GreenHeart(TM))
- Clearer voice technology should mean lower volume is required
- A Widget Manager application, which allows users access to their social networking page via the stand-by screen and quickly switch between different social networks, reduces the battery-wasting waiting time.

3. They come with apps for helping you cut down on CO2 and energy use in other areas of your life..
- Walk Mate eco application
- Green calculator

Gallery: Eco friendly gadgets

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How many times have you opened a great gift, been desperate to get playing with it but discovered it requires eight AAA batteries - which of course are not included and you can't find in your junk drawer.

And how many other times has your gadget run out of batteries at the crucial moment.

Over 5 billion batteries are used and thrown away every year at great ecological cost. ShinyShiny's Andrea Petrou has put together a gallery of eco friendly gadgets to ease your conscience and battery frustration.

Click on the picture below to begin the gallery.

samsung blue earth-thumb-240x180-77510.pngAccording to new analysis from Juniper Research, consumer demand for environmentally sustainable mobile phone handsets could see shipments reach 485 million units by 2014.

According to their report, Green Mobile Handsets & Applications: Strategies, Scenarios & Forecasts 2009-2014, even with an incremental attitude shift by consumers, numbers will still grow from a quarter of million shipments in 2009 to over 105 million by 2014.

ecopc.pngPaul Ridden Writes: Not only does the Fit-PC 2.0 make claims to be the world's smallest fully functioning PC but also to be the greenest. I can't remember seeing anything smaller (and I've seen a LOT of PCs) so that's one claim that I can't argue with. The PC is 115mm by 101mm by 27mm, so if you've seen anything smaller that provides the same or similar specs, feel free to leave a comment!

radiator-booster.JPGThe humble radiator quietly and anonymously sits against the walls of numerous homes throughout the UK. When we're cold it gives us heat. It requires little if any attention, it just sits there and provides us with efficient warmth when we need it - right?

Well, sort of. There is a secretive side to this familiar beast that can be quite wasteful and costs us money - the side I'm talking about faces the wall. But thanks to a simple innovation that sits on top of the radiator all this wasted heat can be drawn back into the room to get you feeling all toasty much quicker and allow you to turn down that power hungry thermostat, saving you money!

powerpump1_L.jpgFestival season is just around the corner and the good old UK weather might not be the only thing that stops you having a good time. But if you're a green gadget lover like me, then taking your favourite tech with you to the next music festival might be a cause for some concern...

Gadgets need power and being a greenie you naturally need to make sure all your cool tools are powered up without harming the earth. Mobile phone giant Orange has recognised this need for eco-power and is offering the Power Pump as the charging solution of choice: created by energy experts Got Wind, the Power Pump will rely on some nifty legwork to ensure your mobile phone will always be charged and ready for action - whether it be for snaps, video, MP3s if there's no-one you want to see or even to contact your friends.

greenheart-thumb-200x150-91796.jpgIt's been a while since green gadgets have hit the headlines, but they're back with an eco-friendly bang as Sony Ericsson announce the launch to two new green phones, to be out later this year. They've gone back to basics with the handsets and have steered clear of solar panels and associated malarkey, and opted instead for recycled materials and environment friendly materials.

k2_product.jpgYou like the idea of getting a green charger for your MP3 player or mobile phone and solar sounds good - but you live in the UK so bright sunshine is not something you can rely on. What to do? A company called Kinesis Industries is about to launch a product that may just have the answer!

Not only does the Kinesis K3 charger soak up the sun (when it's available) but it also features its very own wind turbine. It's a very portable 78 x 236 x 8mm and has LED indicators on the side to let you know just how much sun or wind has been turned into energy.

Related: The solar powered bikini: recharge as you tan | More solar-powered phones hit the market

tweetawatt.jpgBack in the autumn, we had a lot of fun testing out the latest in home energy-monitoring gadgets; discovering the ugly truth of how much electricity we consume. I was quite impressed by how easy it was to monitor the data on my PC, but now these devices have joined the social media generation and will actually tweet the information direct to your twitter account!

Tweet-a-Watt integrates with the Kill-a-Watt (one of the top-selling energy monitoring gadget's that's now available to buy in the UK here) to bring you your meter readings updates wirelessly, via twitter. You can see a live account of how it works here, and in all honesty, some of the reports are a damn sight more interesting than 90% of the 'tweets' I receive on a daily basis! [Via Adafruit]

Related: Green Challenges: Energy Monitoring Week day one | Get atmospheric C02 readings live on Twitter

greenvac.pngElectrolux are set to launch the world's most eco-friendly vacuum cleaner this April in the UK, due to retail at £159.99. Called the Electrolux Ultra Silencer Green, part of what makes this vacuum so green is the fact that it is partly made out of shredded cars.

The body is made with 55% recycled PP, which saves two litres of crude oil and 80 litres of water per vacuum. As well as being made out of recycled materials it is also 90% recyclable itself. Comparing this new model with a vacuum made out of virgin plastics, there is a 90% reduction in energy consumption during manufacturing.

Related: It's teeny being green (if you're a vacuum cleaner) | The green AA

suncat-DIY-solar-batteries.jpg'Solar' really seems to be the buzzword in green tech at the moment, so I was interested to see that batteries are the latest electrical essential to get their own panels. 'Suncat' batteries (so-called because you charge them by leaving them to bask in the sun, like a sleepy cat) are still in embrionic form at the moment, and not available in the shops. But the good news is you can make your own, following instructions on DIY boff Knut Karlsen's blog.

You'll need to be able to source some photo voltaic cells to make your Suncats, but a quick glance at the tutorial suggests that's the hardest part of the job. [Via Treehugger, Shiny Shiny]

Related: More solar-powered phones hit the market | Be your own battery in a solar powered dress

battery charging.jpgYou may have heard the good news that cries of 'has anyone got a charger for a Nokia/Sony/Samsung?' etc will soon be a thing of the past, as the tech world has finally produced what seems to any non-geek to be the most obviously useful gadget ever: a charger that works on any phone.

But even better is the news that this super-charger will be greener, too. According to the Telegraph, the new universal chargers will consume half as much energy when on standby as today's charging cables, and will be supported by the majority of mobile phones by 2012.

coral-handset.jpgMobile phones companies are falling over themselves to get greener, and hot on the heels of Samsung's solar powered handset comes another model making use of daylight-powered technology: Chinese manufacturer ZTE has just released its Coral-200 Solar handset, billing itself as a saviour for emerging markets where electricity is scant, or not readily available.

Unlike the rather slick-looking Blue Earth, however, the Coral is a rather bog standard and decidedly old-fashioned looking candy bar design, with the solar panels on the rear. But again this is completely justified, as I can't imagine eco-friendly mobile owners wanting their phones to resemble and pack all the battery guzzling software and features that come hand in hand with a lot of the standard phones on offer these days (and if they do, they'll be waiting quite a while before that's even considered a possibility).

Related: Blue Earth: Samsung's fusion of solar power and touchscreen goodness

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