I'm still casting about for first-hand reports or actual photos, but according to reports which cite the press release, the French ereader maker is in Barcelona this week reportedly to show off its new ereader cover. Due out some time this summer, the cover features a solar panel powerful enough that a single hour of sunlight will provide a day's worth of reading time.
Bookeen has not announced a price or a specific release date, and that's fine by me. A custome case like this is not worth the expense, in my opinion.
I fail to see the value of a solar panel which has been customized to fit a single ereader. Instead, if I were to get a solar panel I would pick one that came with a USB cable. Not only would that alternate panel be cheaper (higher production volume), it would also be more useful because it could charge any of my mobile devices.
O O O
In related news, there is no info on we might see the nifty solar panel tech which Bookeen announced last year.
As you may recall, at last year's MWC Bookeen announced a partnership with the French solar tech company Sunpartner Technologies to adapt its Wysips tech to work on Bookeen ereaders.
Wysips is a transparent solar panel which theoretically can be mounted on a device's screen, enabling you to charge the device while you use it. If and when this hits the market, it will be a great solution to the mobile device power problem, but I wouldn't expect that to happen any time soon.
Sunpartner Technologies has been working on Wysips for over 6 years now, and they have yet to announce a commercial product which uses the tech. All they've shown us so far are demos like the one at right (this one is from over five years ago).
Bookeen was supposed to have announced a new ereader this spring which integrated Wysips into the E-ink screen, but as you can see they instead announced a case with a regular solar panel and made no mention of last year's promises (I'm still waiting to hear back from them concerning the Wysips tech).
While it's a shame that we don't get the new toy, it's really no big loss. eReaders don't really have a battery problem, not like the problems faced by tablets and smartphones, so adding a solar panel wouldn't serve any real purpose for 95% of users.
Unless you are going to be away from an outlet for days at a time, that solar panel is a wasted expense. And how often does that happen?