Hmmm. Interesting. This report from GSM World says that emerging markets that can provide for alternative means of power off grid for mobile charging may lead to an eventual increase of revenues by about 10% or so for the mobile industry.
I remember when I was a kid, some of my cousins from US used to have Solar powered calculators. They used to work fine. Rarely did I see these devices need battery replacement. That was 20 years ago and I am sure that technology has evolved over the years.
So why exactly are solar powered mobile phones still seen as a thing of future? Really, I understand the limitation for equipments like A/Cs or heaters which consume more power. But small mobile phones can come with solar power charging at least.
Consider this case, from this report, 485 M cellphones use chargers of about 1-2 W rating ...so 485MW. If 1/5th of that is charged through solar (or other alternative means), then the net saving is about 100MW, imagine how many houses can be added to the grid. (OK, this calculation is way too simplistic and you can see 2445 logical problems in that...but I hope I made my point.)
While some handset manufacturers are bringing out such devices, it helps to have an agreement on such things. There can be a coordinated effort so that there is some level-playing field in terms of effort and cost. The output in terms of technology should lead to modifications that may be mandatory.
In general, network connectivity and electrical connectivity have a lot to do with improvement in standard of living. The sooner the divide is bridged, the better it is for all of us. The greener the way to bridge the divide, the better it is for our next generation.