Novothink debuts solar charging case for iPhone

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Sure, the App Store has plenty of ways to help survivalists fend off a zombie apocalypse, or figure out what plants are safe to eat—but without electricity, those useful guides quickly become very useless data on a dead paperweight. Thankfully, Novothink may have a solar-powered solution.

On Thursday, the company released its new hybrid solar charging Surge cases for the iPhone and iPod Touch, proudly pointing out that while there have been other solar-powered chargers made for the iPhone in the past, the Surge is the first one to be Apple-certified.

The case features a solar panel on its back, connected to a 1500mAH lithium-ion battery. Indicator lights let you know the status of the charge and the current strength of your light source, while an additional speaker is built into the bottom to compensate for the iPhone's own speaker being covered. The case also provides a cutout for attaching wrist straps, carabiners, or other clips to charge the device while hiking, biking, running from zombie hordes, etc.

Novothink estimates you can get an extra 30 to 60 minutes of battery life (depending on whether you’re on a 3G or 2G network) from just two hours of direct sunlight, and it even provides a free app called Solar Planner for estimating more precise usage times. Similar to other built-in battery cases like Mophie’s Juice Pack Air, the Surge uses automatic “smart charging” technology to regulate its battery and power reserves.

The case is available from Novothink through Solar Arcadia in black and white, with metallic green, blue, silver, and bronze listed as “coming soon”. The iPhone case is designed for the 3G/3GS only (sorry, original iPhone users) and retails for $80, while the iPod Touch (2G) is priced at $70 (although Solar Arcadia is currently offering it for $53).

[Updated at 1:00PM pacific to change charging time from 30 minutes to two hours due to a mistake in the company's press release.]

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