UK's red phone booths are dead – long live the green phone booths

UK's red phone booths are dead – long live the green phone booths
So, it's 2014 – a year when almost everybody and their dog has a mobile handset and is able to communicate with anyone they desire, no matter where they are. Just as the story of evolution and survival goes – this has rendered the good old landlines next to obsolete, especially when it comes to pay phones. If you think about it – even if your battery gets drained, you still can't make use of a nearby pay phone – because all of your contacts are on your personal handset – and when was the last time you memorized someone else's phone number?

Pay phones being obsolete is fine and normal, but unfortunately – this includes UK's iconic landmarks – the red phone booths. A couple of years ago, some companies tried to revive the red boxes, by transforming them into Wi-Fi hotspots, which was an OK effort, but not something that would bring them back as the pedestrian's best friend, which they used to be.

Now, a startup social enterprise, named Solarbox, has come up with its own product to revive the booths. Instead of having a phone inside them, the solarboxes will provide pedestrians with free electricity, so they could charge their own. The company's plan is to repaint the boxes green and install solar panels on their ceilings. On the inside – people would be able to find the most popular types of connectors for their mobile phones.

A solarbox's battery gets its juice from the Sun's rays and can charge up to 100 phones per day, and the creators claim that it has a “battery boost”, which charges up 20% of a phone's capacity in 10 minutes. This can't be correct for all phones out there and we can't be sure what model they were talking about, so let's just leave it at “you can grab a larger-than-normal charge for 10 minutes”, for example – while you are waiting for somebody.

Solarbox promises that the booths will be kept clean and well-maintained. Of course, the trade-off is that they will be locked during night hours (between 11:30pm and 5:30am). If you're wondering how the company intends to make profits out of this generous contraption – each box will be outfitted with a screen, behind reinforced glass, that will display ads.

The first solarbox went live on the 1st of October and 5 more should roll out by April 2015. Currently, the proud creators report that their brainchild grants electricity to 6 people per hour every day.


source: BBC, Solarbox via Engadget

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24 Comments

1. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

Well if they're going to put charging stations inside a phone booth then good luck to Superman trying to find an empty booth to change his costume !

2. hurrycanger

Posts: 1755; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

Wait superman is in London? :-O

3. ArtSim98

Posts: 3535; Member since: Dec 21, 2012

Superman is everywhere :)

12. hurrycanger

Posts: 1755; Member since: Dec 01, 2013

lol I guess he'll need to find another place to change when he stops by London.

21. tech2

Posts: 3487; Member since: Oct 26, 2012

He can change his clothes at parliament. Its always empty.

4. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Is there any reason why they couldn't keep the red colour?

11. sgodsell

Posts: 6833; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Red doesn't go good with Android. Green is the colour of Android ;-)

15. Ziggy

Posts: 79; Member since: Oct 03, 2014

But the iphone has less battery life than most androids, rendering your comment invalid.

17. zunaidahmed

Posts: 1182; Member since: Dec 24, 2011

Probably means green energy, environment friendly, something like that... It does use solar energy after all....

5. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

Is there any reason why they couldn't keep the red colour?

9. paul.k

Posts: 287; Member since: Jul 17, 2014

They probably want to underline the fact that it's "green energy". Also it is doubtful that they will refresh ALL of the boxes in the UK, so fear not - the red landmarks will probably still be there for a while

6. Vinayakn73

Posts: 207; Member since: Oct 05, 2011

Kissing booth ;p

8. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

yeah!!!

7. reckless562

Posts: 1153; Member since: Sep 09, 2013

cool idea !!!

10. DeusExCellula

Posts: 1390; Member since: Oct 05, 2014

Back to Tardis Blue please

13. Chuck007

Posts: 1410; Member since: Mar 02, 2014

A fine idea! Anything preventing them from using red as well?

14. steodoreben

Posts: 379; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

Red one is still better in my opinion.

16. Ziggy

Posts: 79; Member since: Oct 03, 2014

Do they hate pretty things? or traditional, old-fashioned things? GO RED.

18. Jimrod

Posts: 1605; Member since: Sep 22, 2014

Oh, that's what they're for! In my experience I've always thought they were just toilets for drunk people...

20. uzimafioso

Posts: 469; Member since: Jul 15, 2014

Ohh BURRRRRNNNNNNN!!!!!!! HAHAHHAA 1+ DUDE!!!

19. EclipseGSX

Posts: 1770; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

It's all about the Tardis blue

22. DRavago

Posts: 15; Member since: Oct 11, 2013

Snogging booth for sure also I wouldn't plug my phone in to a booth like that with the current state of USB safety and would advise others against doing that, becareful all, also could be that it's just a bunch of outlets which would be different

23. fzacek

Posts: 2486; Member since: Jan 26, 2014

Cool idea. At least it's free...

24. gigaraga

Posts: 1454; Member since: Mar 29, 2013

20% in 10 minutes ain't bad, I expect to see a lot of iUser wall huggers in there

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