A Solar-Powered Tablet Made For The Backcountry

Although we often use them for sharing pictures or playing games, mobile devices can bring a measure of security to our lives. Unfortunately, most of them are surprisingly fragile, which means we’re loathe to bring them along on adventures where the added level of connectivity could be a life-saver.

That’s why outdoor enthusiast Jon Perry decided to create Earl, the world’s first solar-powered back country survival tablet. Named after Perry’s trusty dog and long-time outdoorsy companion, Earl, this revolutionary tablet is engineered for the most extreme of outdoor situations so you can stay safe while staying off the grid.

earl backcountry solar tablet

Image via John Perry/Meet Earl

I know what you’re thinking: “Well I could just bring my iPad in a really, really tough protective solar case and it would be the same thing.” No, it wouldn’t, and here’s why: Earl works where today’s smart phones and tablets cannot.

Earl combines GPS with it’s internal magnetometer, accelerometer and gyroscope to accurately track your position in dense vegetation and dense urban areas when a direct line of site cannot be acquired. And yeah, if you just can’t resist checking your email while out enjoying the wilds of nature, Earl is a full- featured Android tablet with bluetooth and wifi included.

The 6″ flexible E-ink screen designed by LG provides superior visibility in direct sunlight.”Lunar” mode for nighttime illumination also doubles as an emergency lantern.

And then there’s the “no electricity required” part. “The device can reach full charge on five hours of sunlight and that’s enough power for 20 hours of operation,” reports ABC News. “Other mountain man features are ‘glove friendly’ touch, gyroscope motion controls and the ability to measure temperature, humidity and barometric pressure.”

Salivating yet? Well, if you’d like to be one of the first to get your hands on one, you can help crowdfund the first production run by preordering an Earl on the project’s website for $249, 30 percent below the expected retail cost (but only until June 9th!).

Beth Buczynski is a freelancer writer and editor currently living in the Rocky Mountain West. Her articles appear on Care2, Ecosalon and Inhabitat, just to name a few. So far, Beth has lived in or near three major U.S. mountain ranges, and is passionate about protecting the important ecosystems they represent. Follow Beth on Twitter as @ecosphericblog