updated 4/20/2009 10:55:27 AM ET 2009-04-20T14:55:27

Cell phone users could soon be turning to the skies to charge their handsets.

Japan's No. 2 wireless carrier, KDDI Corp., said Monday it will start selling a waterproof, sunlight-powered cell phone in June. The yet-to-be-priced handset is made by Sharp Corp.

A 10-minute solar charge will provide enough juice for a one-minute call or power the handset in standby mode for two hours, KDDI said. The sun can recharge up to 80 percent of the phone's battery.

The lower use of standard electricity will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions, the Tokyo-based firm said.

With Monday's announcement, KDDI has intensified the global race to develop and market "eco-friendly" products.

Korean rival Samsung Electronics introduced a new solar-powered mobile phone in February, touting it as the world's first. The company says the phone is made from recycled plastic extracted from water bottles.

But the Suwon, South Korea-based company has not said when the handsets will go on sale or for how much.

More on  cell phones   |  app stores

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