Intivation intros Umeox Apollo smartphone: $100, solar-powered, Android 2.2 (hands-on)

Rugged? Check. Built-in flashlight? Nod. Solar panel on the rear? Yep. Android 2.2? For sure. All of the essentials (and then a few extras) have been tossed onto the Umeox Apollo smartphone, shown off for the first time today at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. It's hardly a high-end device -- in fact, at just $100 off-contract, it's bound to be one of the less-capable Froyo handsets on the market. But considering that this is positioned to put Android into the hands of those who aren't exactly champing at the bit to spend a month's wages on a phone, we'd say it's a huge step in the right direction. When asking about specifications, we were told to expect a MediaTek processor, microSD card slot, rear-facing camera and a SIM card slot. The unit on display was a non-working mockup, with an on-site representative noting that shipments should begin to Europe, Latin America and India this May (with other nations to follow). The device felt satisfactorily solid, but unfortunately, no technical details were available regarding the solar panel on the rear.

In related news, the company was also showcasing a couple of other innovations: a new solar cell microchip and its first solar cell. Prior to this week, Intivation only sold the microprocessors, forcing partners to go and find their own panel supplier. Now, it's entering another business with the Sunboost3 all-in-one solar module, and if it's hopes and dreams come true, you'll start seeing these on a slew of upcoming handsets. Hit the PDFs below for more of the nitty-gritty, and peek the Apollo mockup in the gallery below.