Kyocera shows off another solar-powered prototype smartphone

For people who love the outdoors.

Last year, during Mobile World Congress, Kyocera teased a rugged smartphone with solar charging built in. What made that concept device interesting was how its sun-powered films were laid out: they sat between the LCD and touch panel, as opposed to being somewhere on the outside of the body. Now, Kyocera's building on this idea with a new prototype handset, which it has once again created in tandem with Sunpartner Technologies, a French company that focuses on solar tech.

The smartphone itself is bigger than the Torque we saw in 2015, standing at 5 inches tall while still running a forked version of Android. But what matters here is the magic inside. According to Sunpartner Technologies, Kyocera's fresh prototype comes with improved power efficiency. Three minutes of sun gets you one minute of talk time, whereas the previous model required 10 minutes of light rays for two minutes of voice. Kyocera also designed an app to let users know about the charging conditions, ranging from "Excellent" to "Not Charging."

As far as internet browsing goes, a Sunpartner representative said the solar-powered technology can "probably" last longer doing that than on talk time -- but we weren't allowed to put that to test, unfortunately. There's no word on when, or if, Kyocera plans to bring it to market. Still, at least we know the manufacturer is willing to try different things, especially when it comes to solar technology.