A while ago, I bought a solar charger with an USB port, hoping that I would be able use to power my iPods and G1. Well, it was an idea but it didn't work out quite as I hope.
The problem I experienced was the time it takes to charge the battery and how underpowered it was. Heck, I even bought some solar lights for my yard and talk about underpowered. I've decided that the issue is the solar panels and the terrible efficiency.
So, when do we expect things to be better? To be able to charge our mobile devices in the same amount of time it goes for us to charge our mobile devices solarly as it takes to have them plugged into the wall.
But I was hoping for the day when we don't need an external charger and the devices will come with its own solar panels.
According to CNet, the folks to spoke to believes that isn't going to happen any time soon. The solar chargers they are talking about are like backpacks, cases, or external batteries. In the near term, devices that come with solar panels are only good to help extend battery life rather than completely replace the need for plugs.
Right now, it takes a full day of charging for devices like Samsung's Crest Solar. Trust me on this. A full day is better than anything I've experienced. The Crest is a standard phone. Nothing like the G1, Blackberry, or the iPhone, all of which requires more power.
I don't know when mobile devices will be self-sufficient to the point when solar charging will take only mere hours instead of a full day. The problem is the sun isn't up 24 hours a day.