It’s been about a year and a half since Bookeen announced it was working on an eBook reader with a solar panel. Now it’s finally available. Sort of.
None of the company’s eReaders actually have a built-in solar panel. But now you can buy a €60 solar cover for the Bookeen Cybook Ocean eReader.
Attach the cover to the eReader and leave it out in the sun and you should get about 30 minutes of reading time from an hour of charging time (assuming it’s a bright day).
OK, like most small solar chargers, it’d take a long time to fully charge your battery. But a solar cover makes a lot more sense for a super-low-power device like an eReader than more power-hungry gadgets like phones or tablets.
Because eReaders tend to have E Ink displays and low-power processors, they can often run for weeks at a time on a charge. So you don’t need to be able to generate all that much energy from a solar panel to get a reasonable charge. Theoretically Bookeen’s solar cover could allow you to never plug your eReader into a wall outlet if you just leave the cover in a window sill… although I suspect you’ll have better results if you leave it in more direct sunlight, assuming no people (or deer) are likely to come steel your eReader from your deck or campsite.
The Solar Leaf Cover is also a pretty attractive cover, thanks to a leaf-like pattern integrated into the solar panels. So it’s not bad to look at, even when it’s not charging your device.
The Cybook Ocean eReader has an 8 inch, 1024 x 768 pixel display, 4GB of built-in storage, a microSDHC card slot, a touchscreen display, 802.11b/g/n WiFi, and support for EPUB and PDF files with Adobe DRM, as well as HTML, TXT, FB2, and DJVU documents.