Macworld 08: Solio powers up solar charger range

A serious gadget habit is never going to be great for the environment - but technology could yet save the world. Following last year's high-profile Gr

A serious gadget habit is never going to be great for the environment - but technology could yet save the world. Following last year's high-profile Greenpeace campaign, Apple and friends are significantly greener at this year's Macworld show in San Francisco.

First, Steve Jobs uses his keynote speech to boast about the MacBook Air's apparent green credentials (you'll find the laptop's Environmental Status Report listed on Apple's tech specs site - although the real shock isn't that this machine is arsenic and mercury free, it's that the previous MacBooks were so full of poison).

And then, having waded through stand upon stand of iPod cases and CES rejects I finally found some great eco products: two new portable solar panels from Solio that'll charge up all your gadgets - and your karma.

I'm a big fan of the original three-petalled Solio (now the 'Classic'), which has been around for a while now and keeps my iPod charged when I'm on holiday. So it's great to see a new Magnesium version with a larger 1800mAh battery that'll hold enough power to charge your mobile phone three times. It's compatible with a multitude of devices thanks to the use of iGo Tips, and You can top the battery up from a power outlet or USB socket if the sun refuses to shine.

The Solio Hybrid H1000 is a simpler design, with a carabiner clip so you can have it on the outside of your back constantly charging. Available in dull black or outdoorsy orange, it's rugged and cool and cheaper than other solios. It also uses iGo Tips and its 1000mAh battery can be charged via USB. Prices are unconfirmed, but with a new UK distribution deal signed expect to see both products in the shops by springtime, with pricetags either side of the current Solio's £60. 

Macworld 08: Hands on with the Apple MacBook Air

Macworld 08: Live coverage of the Steve Jobs keynote