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This article was published on January 7, 2021

Kiss me, Samsung — all remotes should be solar-powered

Those photons are now mine, Sun

Kiss me, Samsung — all remotes should be solar-powered
Callum Booth
Story by

Callum Booth

Editor of Plugged by TNW

Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He w Callum is an Englishman in Amsterdam, but not in the way you're thinking. He's the Editor of Plugged, TNW's consumer tech vertical. He writes about gear, gadgets, and apps — with a particular focus on Apple — and also makes the occasional odd video. Basically, he's halfway between an abrasive gadget nerd and thinky art boy.

Consider this an open invite to the entirety of Samsung’s 287,000-ish workforce to come visit me in Amsterdam for a hot and heavy make out session — because solar-powered remote controls are My Shit™.

Because you may care about “details” and say things like “what the hell are you talking about,” here’s the actual news. Samsung’s 2021 range of 4K and 8K QLED will come with something it calls a “Solar Cell Remote Control.”

Try and guess what it is. I dare you.

On the front, the periphial itself is pretty much what you’d expect: a Samsung remote. But the magic happens on the back: a selection of solar cells that can charge the device. It looks like this:

samsung solar-powered remote solar cell remote control
OMFG I LOVE THIS SOLAR-POWERED REMOTE MORE THAN ANY FUTURE CHILDREN I MAY HAVE.

Samsung’s solar-powered remote can be recharged via indoor or outdoor light and, usefully, there’s also a USB-C port in case you don’t want to hang around and wait for dumb photons. It’s built from 24% recycled content and the company predicts it’ll prevent the waste of 99 million AAA batteries over seven years.

We should take that figure with a pinch of salt, but the core message remains: this is a fucking fantastic move that can make a genuine ecological difference. And, in my opinion, every company should release remotes like this.

Currently, I have six remotes (and three games controllers) on my coffee table, and the majority of them still use disposable batteries. How stupid is that? Solar-powered remotes are a simple idea that should be standardized.

The sun’s just up there, right now, looking at us, shining and burning, mocking us, even. There’s more than enough juice to help me turn my amplifier on and off a couple of times a day, so why aren’t we sticking it to that smug mass of hydrogen and harnessing that power for our own ends? Tell me, companies, tell me.

Anyway, I love the thought behind Samsung‘s solar-powered remote — and you should too. Let’s hope more companies follow suite and whack some sweet cells on their point-and-clickers. My lips are here for you.

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