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Apart from powering homes and offices, solar energy is now being considered for consumer electronics. Microsoft is playing with the idea of using solar panels for Surface Pro tablets in the future. Based on the patent filed last year, Microsoft is planning to integrate solar panels to the Surface Type Cover so that it can be used to charge the tablet.
Since panels are installed on the kickstand, it suggests that they could be adjusted to ensure optimal intake of solar energy. However, it could affect the viewing angle of the tablet and the user’s comfort level. Some have criticized that solar is relatively slower compared to the traditional source of energy. Critics claim that solar cannot be used as a main source of power even if it will only be used to extend the overall battery life of the tablet. While the use of solar is a good idea, it remains to be seen how Microsoft can turn it to reality.
The real application of the patent is not likely to become a reality right now because the Surface tablet is promoted as a serious iPad competitor with emphasis on lightweight and elegance. It is very unlikely that a solar device will be attached to the tablet. The most efficient ways for solar panels to work is with direct full sunlight which is not actually the environment for most tablet users.
Aside from the saleable environmental qualities of a solar powered accessory for a device, Microsoft has made a lot of money from Surface peripherals like the interchangeable covers. Supplemental type covers or the more common name for combination cover and keyboard are sold for Surface tablets since they were introduced to the market.