media logos

Working Assets introduces first solar cell charger in US

We’ll admit that we don’t really see the overreaching benefit of having a solar-powered cell phone charger. There are, after all, few places you’ll go that will be absent an electrical outlet. But, they say it’s environment-friendly, so that could be reason enough to give this device a shot. It’s the Solio, and it’s only available through Working Assets, a socially- and environmentally-minded MVNO of the Sprint network.

Here’s the deal. You buy the charger for $100, and you get a free LG 150 to go along with it. Yeah, it’s not much, but it’s still a phone and nifty charger for $100, which is tough to beat. From there you can shop Working Assets’ plans, which start at $29.99 for 200 anytime minutes. All plans come with free nights and weekends.

Of course, you have to sign a two-year contract. But you can give them a call at 800-496-2942 and they’ll work out a prepaid arrangement with you. Just don’t expect to get the phone and charger for $100 in that case.

Anyway, being a hybrid, the Solio can use an electrical outlet to charge devices in addition to its solar capabilities. The best part is that it’s pretty universal; it can charge MP3 players, GPS systems, and digital cameras. It makes your $100 stretch just a little bit further.

The company is “one of the most powerful citizen-action groups in the nation,” a notion we can stand behind. Every cell phone bill comes with notes on issues important to the company, “with a free call or a low-cost advocacy letter” available to be sent on behalf of the customer. “Every month working Assets customers generate over 80,000 calls and letters to Congress, the White House and corporate leaders regarding decisions of critical public concern.”

We wonder if they’ve lobbied the government regarding their own industry. We love the civil action and all, but they’re doing their customers a disservice by offering plans on a contract basis. It’s not completely hypocritical, but it’s enough for us to wonder.

[Working Assets] via [The New York Times]