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Books Displays Handhelds Hardware

Next Kindle Expected To Have a Front-Lit Display 132

An anonymous reader writes "Amazon doesn't show off prototypes unless it is pretty confident about the tech, so you may be surprised to find the next Kindle is probably going to have a front-lit display. The lighting tech comes from a company they purchased back in 2010 called Oy Modilis. It specialized in such lighting and has patents related to whatever Amazon decided to use. The display is meant to be lit in a blue-white glow, and if it's anything like Flex lighting probably won't impact battery life too much. The question is, does anyone really want or need a light for their Kindle?"
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Next Kindle Expected To Have a Front-Lit Display

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  • Not a huge concern (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neokushan ( 932374 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @06:26AM (#39611473)

    The kindle works very much like how a book does - you can read it in the same conditions, with the benefit of a consistent size, portability and of course the ability to carry many "books" with you at the same time. There's a plethora of itty-bitty book lights and similar reading aids out there that work just as well for the kindle as any book. You can also get cases with lights built into them specifically designed for the kindle. This is a welcome addition, but seems more evolutionary than revolutionary.

  • by ccguy ( 1116865 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @07:21AM (#39611573) Homepage

    All the years I spent reading paper books, I never once thought "if only this thing had a built-in light."

    Well, just marry someone how wants to sleep while you read in bed.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @08:07AM (#39611697) Journal

    All the years I spent reading paper books, I never once thought "if only this thing had a built-in light."

    As an avid reader from a very young age, with parents that would say "Lights out, Giacomino, you got school tomorrow!", a light was one of the first things I thought should be built into all books.

    And comics! And later, glossy magazines with women in various levels of undress that my friend in the 6th grade stole from the back of his dad's bottom drawer (but here's the killer...) that I was later to learn also had short stories (!) by Nabokov, Henry Miller and Philip Roth. That may have been what really set me on a life of literature: the close association between naked ladies and very sophisticated writing. It's why after all these years, even though he is very creepy, if I were to see Hugh Hefner on the street, I would personally thank him.

    Yes, lights built into all books, stat.

  • by itsdapead ( 734413 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @08:30AM (#39611749)

    I feel the same way. All the years I spent reading paper books, I never once thought "if only this thing had a built-in light."

    If you google for "clip-on book light" you'll get enough hits to suggest that there is a demand for a way to illuminate a book in the dark without turning on the bedside lamp, and I guess Amazon sold a lot of those covers with the built-in light. Of course, building one into a book isn't sensible, because you'd need one built into every book. With an ebook reader, it makes sense. In other news, you probably never thought "if only this book had built-in WiFi, 3G, speakers, a headphone jack and a micro-USB socket" but I'd wager that at least one of those is on your "must-have" list for an e-reader.

  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @09:27AM (#39612009) Journal

    Eh, if it doesn't impact the battery life much, or substantially change the device dimensions, then I don't see the harm. I know I'm tired of people pointing out my e-reader is not a tablet and thinking they're getting some kind of dig in by asking if I can read in the dark. If you see me reading it, and ask about it, and I tell you I love it, you're not clever for pointing out that I could play bejeweled if I'd bought an iPad.

    A light is not enough to overcome the format issues, and general Amazon scumminess to get me to switch from my ePub native e-reader, though...

  • by fooslacker ( 961470 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @09:28AM (#39612015)
    I actually think it's a bigger deal than that because of the changes in the way we read and the context of what is possible now versus when paper books were the only medium to communicate the written word. While I agree with your basic analysis regarding traditional books I think the difference is the iPad and other tablets (note I'm ignoring the Fire because I see that as a poor compromise between an iPad and a Kindle non-Fire)

    Before these devices the Kindle was the undisputed king of readers and all it had to do was replicate the book experience as closely as possible and I was thrilled. With the iPad I now actually read more on my iPad than my Kindle because the interface is better (Kindle is addressing this with various touch technologies but I don't yet have an eInk touch version) and I can read in the dark at the end of the day. However, the reading experience on the iPad leaves a bit to be desired in any overhead lighting environment because of glare (I haven't tried the new one as I'm still on iPad2). As a result I used to be completely happy with my Kindle but now I have two devices that I'm probably 70% happy with because the context of what is possible/available has changed.

    As you said book lights can solve the problem but it's just another complication to the process that needs batteries and to be attached and to be stored and generally adds to the inconvenience. This wasn't an issue with books because there wasn't an alternative but since the context has changed and I now know it's an extra hassle it becomes annoying.

    I think these technologically evolutionary improvements are exactly what has a chance to create revolutionary functional change (not that this one necessarily will if it is poorly executed) and win Amazon back some market share. As a result I love when companies focus on experiential design facets of a product rather than just cramming the latest chip in something and adding features to add features regardless of how well executed the feature may be.
  • Re:I'm still.... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ColdWetDog ( 752185 ) on Sunday April 08, 2012 @01:30PM (#39613175) Homepage

    Because reading LCD screens, particularly in darkened rooms, is hard on the eyes compared to E-Ink devices (even with their lower contrast).

    I'm going to call BS on that. Going white on black and dropping the brightness on my iPad, I can read for hours in a dark room. In fact, it's easier doing that than reading a paper book with a nightlight. Sure, if you crank the brightness up to eye bleeding levels and don't adjust it for ambient conditions then it's going to be annoying, but most people can handle the 'brightness' slider.

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"