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Next Kindle Expected To Have a Front-Lit Display

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the complicated-tradeoffs dept.

Books 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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132 comments

Not a huge concern (5, Insightful)

neokushan (932374) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not a huge concern (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about 2 years ago | (#39611519)

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." I also never desired to read my mail, watch television, or listen to the radio with a book. I think that people who read are more concerned with a user experience that enhances reading, and I have found that a lamp next to my bed has been the best innovation yet when it comes to reading at night.

Re:Not a huge concern (4, Insightful)

ccguy (1116865) | about 2 years ago | (#39611573)

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.

Re:Not a huge concern (1, Funny)

neonKow (1239288) | about 2 years ago | (#39612285)

Just don't use a freaking searchlight to read and a small lamp should be just fine.

Re:Not a huge concern (5, Informative)

fafaforza (248976) | about 2 years ago | (#39612517)

I don't understand the resistance to something like this. What if you're on an overnight flight and don't want to use the overhead light because everyone else is asleep. What if your subway lights go out (as they sometimes do in NYC).

What will eInk people complain about next, electric light bulbs? Kerosene lamps were fine, and your horse drawn carriage got 12 paces to a fart and no one complained?

Re:Not a huge concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39615283)

I love my kindle 3, and I love the light built into the case. I use the light more than 50% of the time I spend reading on the Kindle... The device would be substantially less useful to me without it.

Building the light INTO the kindle, allowing me to read with the light without having to always be attached to the case? Do want. It sounds like this may also improve energy efficiency by wasting less light, and therefore less power.

Re:Not a huge concern (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#39612651)

I use a small clip on light [mightybright.com] on my Kindle, but there's still significant spillover to the wall when I'm laying down with the Kindle - my partner gets to watch the shadow of my kindle playing on the wall or ceiling while she tries to sleep. That's with the light on "low" setting, *and* a small piece of kleenex taped to the light head to diffuse and reduce it - the stock light is even brighter with more spilover. When I roll over to my side, the light slides so I need to re-position it, which takes some doing to keep from seeing a hotspot of glare from the light on the screen.

It would be so much nicer if the light was built-in and was always positioned perfectly with no glare and no excess light shining on the wall.

I just hope it's dimmable nearly all the way to zero - neither my Android phone nor my Nook dim far enough for me in a pitch-dark room.

Re:Not a huge concern (1)

Mista2 (1093071) | about 2 years ago | (#39613953)

Nice to have these features, but what I really want is to be able to read my epubs on a kindle, the I might buy one. For now I'll keep using my tablet and phone so I can run any reader I want.

Re:Not a huge concern (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 2 years ago | (#39611697)

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.

Re:Not a huge concern (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39613139)

You're too late. Most laptops have backlights. Kids these days aren't stealing porn from their dad's drawers, they're downloading gigabytes of the stuff to their computer and putting them in TrueCrypt partitions.

Good writing, not so much.

Re:Not a huge concern (4, Insightful)

itsdapead (734413) | about 2 years ago | (#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.

Re:Not a huge concern (1)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about 2 years ago | (#39613995)

I bought a light for my first Kindle, the DX, then my second Kindle is the Kindle 3, which I have the Amazon cover for. For both I prefer to use the lamp next to my bed to the light on the Kindle. The lamp doesn't create any irritating 'hot spots' and I can read at more angles and rest the Kindle in more places without the appendage, plus I find warm incandescent light more comfortable than the harsh LED light. If I were the luddite you are accusing me to be, I wouldn't own a Kindle. Some features are clearly superior, particularly the ability to store huge amounts of books in one compact device. As far as music, I actually prefer to read with no music, however, when there is significant background noise, such as on a plane, I use my phone, which has all of my music and streaming radio stations on it.

Re:Not a huge concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39614523)

So...you did think "if only this thing had a light built in" so you bought an aftermarket attachment, but then didn't like it.

Re:Not a huge concern (1)

moortak (1273582) | about 2 years ago | (#39612611)

I often read while walking to work. For about half o the year there is plenty of light. The other half I would appreciate a built in light.

Re:Not a huge concern (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39613155)

I often read while walking to work. For about half o the year there is plenty of light. The other half I would appreciate a built in light.

I just thought you were drunk.

Re:Not a huge concern (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#39613069)

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

You can buy them for paper books too. I have one which clips onto the top of a book and lights the current page.

Re:Not a huge concern (4, Insightful)

zippthorne (748122) | about 2 years ago | (#39612009)

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...

Re:Not a huge concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613581)

Nook simple touch eink reader is rumoured coming out with about same built in light system. http://blog.the-ebook-reader.com/2012/04/02/new-nook-touch-to-have-led-flex-lighting-for-night-reading/

Re:Not a huge concern (5, Insightful)

fooslacker (961470) | about 2 years ago | (#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:Not a huge concern (0)

Omestes (471991) | about 2 years ago | (#39613591)

If you think an iPad is better for reading than eInk, your missing the point of eInk. This isn't to see that your preferences are wrong, you like what you like, but you miss why people like me prefer eInk.

I have a Transformer, and a Nook Touch (and a first gen Nook 3g), I never read anything more than webpages and comic books on my tablet. I read anything dealing with large amounts of static text on the Nook. Why? I hate backlights (or front lights, or glowing screens in general). It hurts my eyes at night, it keeps me from sleeping when I should, and they generally give me severe eye strain. I might be special, since when I read I generally sit down for over a two hour clip, and when I use a glowy screen I take breaks every 15 minutes to half hour.

For me, a tablet is a small portable computer, and an ebook is a small portable dead tree book. I don't want or expect to much crossover. My ebook not being tablety enough is a good thing. If they could make my tablet more ebooky (matte screen, high contrast, no backlight, massive battery life) I'd be as happy as a clam, though.

Fun fact: I've thrown away more book lights than Amazon has probably sold Kindles. Every damn year for 20+ years everyone figures that since I'm a reader I need a damn booklight. I still dont' think I've ever actually used one (I lie, one had a nice clip, and I used to clip it to PC cases while I was working on them). I have a nice lamp. When my girlfriend is sleeping I read in our library room, or my office (both with good lamps and comfy chairs). I haven't actually found myself stranding in the wilderness without any source of light, and an odd hankering for Stephen King, if I had no light source I'd probably be more worried about that.

It, in the end, I suppose is a case of different strokes for different folks, though.

Re:Not a huge concern (2)

fooslacker (961470) | about 2 years ago | (#39614087)

Not sure you read my post correctly. I get that you don't want a light but your preference is not particularly relevant to my point unless of course there are so many people like you out there that the feature doesn't help sell new Kindles.

I prefer eInk too and yet I read more on my iPad currently primarily because I read at night before I go to sleep and since I read on my iPad most of the time, I rarely take the time to go find my Kindle for the times when I'm not reading in conditions where I need a light. I don't particularly like the ipad as a reader and actually prefer the eInk screen, weight, and battery life of my Kindle. The two areas where it sucks are the interface which is a pain when managing thousands of titles and the lack of ability to read in a dark environment. I don't want a screen that glows all the time but I would like a light I can turn on and off that makes it readable in a dark environment that doesn't tether me to a lamp and hence lying or sitting in one position for hours at a time.

My point was to say that these types of features can't be dismissed because a book doesn't have them as I believe that ereaders have changed what the experience of reading means in many cases and in that context and as a development strategy it is important for Kindles to compete with functional use cases (e.g. reading at night) and feature sets (e.g. good UI for managing large numbers of books) that other reading devices support, so that they can then win on things that differentiate them like eInk, battery, and price.

Re:Not a huge concern (1)

clodney (778910) | about 2 years ago | (#39612591)

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.

I agree that this is more evolutionary than revolutionary, but I would snap one of these up in a heartbeat. I already have the reading light case for my Kindle, and while it is nice, it means that the device has to be in its case to be of use. Having one built in to the display surface seems like a big step up, assuming that it has no more power drain than the existing external lights, and has an on/off switch.

As someone who has aging eyes and a preference for overall low light levels at home at night, a lit Kindle would be very welcome.

Re:Not a huge concern (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39614373)

IMO: a kindle is much harder to read in dim light than a regular paper book. The contrast in a book tends to be higher.

Most people want a light for their Kindle. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611483)

I read in bed most nights... not very practical without a light. I have the case with a built-in light. Yes I could use a tablet but e-ink is the way to go for long fiction books. Plus the Kindle is the best investment in history if all you want to do is read, you can leave wi-fi off if you have DRM psychological problems and the battery lasts for weeks and load it up with classics from project gutenberg. That's why nobody cares about rooting their e-ink kindle, it only does one thing well but does it perfectly.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611525)

I use a clip-on booklight if I want to read in bed when my partner is asleep. I prefer it to using the overhead lights on planes and buses too. It works fine but a front-lit kindle would be more convenient - less to carry, no batteries to replace - and presumably would provide more even illumination. I don't want one enough to replace my existing kindle though.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (2)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 2 years ago | (#39611613)

Much as I loved my kindle 3 (with surplus keyboard), I've since switched to the kobo touch after a problem with the kindle screen out of warranty - it's gone all 'ghosty'. Same idea as the kindle touch, except that _still_ isn't available in the UK yet; they wouldn't even ship a US version to the UK. It's up for pre-order now, finally, at £109 - or the kobo touch is available now from a ton of places, has been since xmas, and is only £80 (or the non-touch version for £49 @ asda, vs £89 for the kindle basic). Plus it reads epubs (drm-free or adobe digital editions), so you can buy books from all sorts of places that may be cheaper without having to sod about with calibre conversion, you don't have to use the kobo store.

While amazon after sales support is admittedly 2nd to none, they're not automatically the best value for e-ink readers any more. I do agree that e-ink is the way to go for reading books though. Small, light, portable, cheap, and a battery life measured in weeks not hours, as well as a well-stocked library in something smaller and lighter than one paperback. I'm saving so much weight in my luggage alone it's been worth it!

I did have a separate light for the kindle - it fitted into the leather case - and it did prove handy on the odd occasion when travelling and didn't have a decent light to read by - planes, trains and hotels especially. I would use it in bed at night, but my wife happily falls asleep with her own light on, let alone my bedside one. I can see how a built in light would be useful if your partner was more sensitive to bed-side lights, as a strap on light does add weight and alter the balance quite a bit. I haven't had the need to light up my kobo yet, but will probably just duct tape my current bendy one to it if needed!

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#39611627)

The touch is released in the UK in a couple of weeks.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (4, Interesting)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 2 years ago | (#39611691)

Into their 2nd biggest market after the US 7 months after the US - september 28th 2011 in the US, April 27 2012 in the UK. And there will probably shortages making it even longer before general availability. They withdrew the kindle keyboard without 3G (the model I had) leaving only the kindle basic @ £89, or the kindle keyboard @ £149.

Seven months is a long time in consumer electronics. Amazon had the e-ink market pretty much to themselves for the previous couple of generations. We still don't have the kindle fire or any projection for it. (which to be fair, really involves getting all the rights for the amazon app store, the movie store etc which aren't in the UK either, so I'm not terribly surprised at that).

But the kindle touch? No extra rights needed there, it's just an e-reader, same as the kindle 3. You can buy a kobo touch, and have been able to for months and months (backed by one of our biggest book/stationary retailers, WH Smith) for less than the kindle basic! Even when the kindle touch comes out, it's going to be £30 or 27% more expensive for what is virtually identical hardware to the kobo. If you want cheap, the kobo basic is almost half the price of the kindle basic, for again very similar hardware. You couldn't even import the touch, unless you went grey market for even more money and no warranty support.

Amazon don't have the e-ink market to themselves in the UK any more, even if the Nooks aren't available here. For a while, the kindle beat the crap out of the alternatives for both hardware, and better pricing, but that's no longer true. Amazon need to be aware of that now with their pricing and treating us like a captive market that will hang around and wait if they don't want to lose significant share to the competition. They've still got significant mind share - everybody knows about the kindle - but that won't last forever if they keep treating us like marks to be fleeced.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 2 years ago | (#39612023)

Why not get a B&N Simple Touch instead? As a side benefit, you don't feed Amazon's attempt to become the Microsoft Word of e-publishing.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 2 years ago | (#39612105)

Nooks are not officially for sale in the UK (I don't think they ever have been), and you pay import duty to bring em in. They're not a bad price at all on ebay uk (£70), but that's US resellers, so £20-£30 shipping plus you're still liable for import duty if customs spots it. So ~ £90 to £100 even if you avoid duty. Found a UK seller, it's £105, so that's amazon touch pricing. And of course, no recourse to B&N, as it's a parallel grey import, so even if they would warranty a resold product, I'd have to ship to US in the event of fault. Plus of course the official store is in dollars, so I'm paying conversion fees to buy the books if I want bookmark sync etc.

Much simpler to buy a kobo touch for £80, I get a local warranty from a physical retailer with wide presence, UK ebook store, and as you say, I'm not feeding the Amazon lock-in behemoth.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#39613113)

Amazon don't have the e-ink market to themselves in the UK any more

Indeed. WHSmiths, one of the largest high-street book sellers, is heavily pushing the Kobo reader, and the cheapest model is about 25% cheaper than the cheapest Kindle.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 years ago | (#39611653)

or the non-touch version for £49 @ asda, vs £89 for the kindle basic

Assuming you can actually get it for that price at Asda. I've heard they've had similar "great" prices on things like that in the past, then it turned out that they were sold out because they only ever had a very few on sale, i.e. it was a gimmick to get you into their store.

That said, IIRC and AFAIK you *can* get them for around £60 from some sources without too much difficulty.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 2 years ago | (#39611715)

Agreed that asda sometimes are a bit 'flexible' with availability, but I know a few people who've got their hands on one, I saw them in stock at my local a few days ago, and they're currently listed as in stock on their website : http://direct.asda.com/Kobo-Wireless-eReader---Onyx/000518285,default,pd.html [asda.com] - you can pick up in store, or have home delivery.

I think this one is a legit drop, rather than a gimmick special offer.

IIRC, Asda helped drive the price of the kobo touch down from £99 to its current £80 pretty much everywhere, which I paid a couple of months ago. I wouldn't be surprised if £49 becomes the new price for the kobo wifi, down from its current £70 standard (though you can get it for £60 elsewhere, as you say). It still beats the crap out of the £89 for the kindle basic at either price.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#39611723)

I used to think e-ink is great, and I still read books that way, but honestly it's overhyped and much too primitive to be a good book reading device.

The worst problem is that I can't read ebooks outside. As soon as the sun shines on the display, the e-ink starts disappearing (I believe it's something to do with the display heating up, but whatever it is, e-ink is just not good enough). The other problem is glare when reading inside. It's comparable in annoyance to those glossy paper magazines, when you read them next to a lamp.

The last straw is the form factor. I like to read scientific papers, and the screen of just about any ebook reader is too small to read comfortably. Even if I'm reading novels, I find that with a small screen there's too much hand navigation required, basically. Whereas I would flip a piece of paper every two pages on a paperback, I have to press the next page button at least 3 times to get to the same point. It just requires too much hand interaction for my taste.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (2)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 2 years ago | (#39611797)

My e-reader is fine in sunlight. Sounds like a problem with your particular model.

Screen size is a trade-off; my reader has a smaller screen than most others, but it fits nicely in a pocket. I've seen readers with e-ink screens up to 9", but they're more expensive, of course.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#39612011)

Have you tried it on the beach in summer? That's the kind of sunlight I'm talking about.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

damnbunni (1215350) | about 2 years ago | (#39612085)

Yes.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#39612155)

Hmm. I thought this problem was the case with all e-ink readers, but doing a quick search [google.com] on the net suggests it might be a problem with some displays manufactured by LG. That would be awesome.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (2)

demonlapin (527802) | about 2 years ago | (#39612295)

It's got to be your device. There have been three Kindles in my household, one of each generation, and none has ever looked bad in direct light - in fact they look their best in direct sun. And glare is a much bigger problem with the glossy iPad surface than the matte Kindle surface. Outdoors, nothing beats e-Ink.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

clodney (778910) | about 2 years ago | (#39612617)

My first Kindle had a problem in hot sunlight - reading by the pool in Vegas, I learned I had to put it face down (i.e. in the shade) during page flips, or it would have trouble redrawing the screen - washed out and partially missing text.

I went to the 3rd generation Kindle and it has never had that problem.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#39613147)

I have an iRex iLiad, which is one of the first generation eInk devices from a now-defunct company. Scientific papers are fine, and I've spent many summer days sitting in the park with the sun shining directly on the screen without any display problems. I'm more concerned about the fact that the sun heats up the device beyond what I think LiIon batteries are supposed to tolerate...

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

mrmeval (662166) | about 2 years ago | (#39611919)

The Kobo touch seems to have a problem with refresh but a firmware flash seems to fix it by giving the user a setting for refresh of 1-6 page turns. The reviewer does not seem totally happy with the fix. The reviewer calls it ghosting and there is a screen shot. It's pretty ugly.

http://portables.about.com/od/ebookreasers/fr/Kobo-Touch-Review.htm [about.com]

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

arkhan_jg (618674) | about 2 years ago | (#39612479)

Same problem with the newer kindles - they use the same generation pearl E Ink display as the kobo. I don't have a significant issue with ghosting - it's there if you look VERY closely, or have a black-heavy image on a previous page, but it's not an issue when you're just reading text. You can set it to do a full refresh every page, same as the kindle 3, or up to every 6 page turns, which is the default. I have it set on every 4 turns on my kobo, which provides a decent balance between the two for speed/vs ghosting. Even on 6, my kobo touch shows nothing LIKE that amount of ghosting in that screen shot.

I took a couple of quick snaps to demo;

Here's the kobo on a mostly blank page after 5 page (back) turns before refresh (next would do a full refresh)
https://picasaweb.google.com/103418843325186142125/Kobo#5729046541116884130 [google.com]
and what it looks like in the middle of text, again after 5 turns without refresh.
https://picasaweb.google.com/103418843325186142125/Kobo#5729047194047324946 [google.com]

(ignore the slight orange cast, that's a combo of lighting and my fairly naff phone cam - the rectangular shadow middle-bottom in the first one is the phone shadow)

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

mrmeval (662166) | about 2 years ago | (#39614863)

I'd get a Kobo before a Kindle.

Right now a friend is hawking his book on Amazon and there is no way I can find to download his book DRM free. He's not been able to turn that off or he's lied and said he cannot turn it off.

Amazon is also forcing one-click to buy it and I won't use that. Because my friend is convinced Amazon is the shats meow I can buy it and then have them send it to me DRM free but at this point I'm not touching one-click until the patent is expired.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611951)

If you're an active reader, the battery lasts for a week, not weeks.

Re:Most people want a light for their Kindle. (1)

LesFerg (452838) | about 2 years ago | (#39615249)

I have a small bedside lamp which used to be sufficient for reading paper books with, but found it to be useless when trying to read my new Sony Reader. Not sure why that is, but ended up using a cover with built-in light now.

Also the bus ride home during winter will require the light, interior lighting quality varies and last winter the drivers usedta turn off the lights randomly for some reason.

What will be the e-ink screen quality? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611493)

Amazon used lower quality e-ink screens in the touch than the old keyboard Kindle... where will this stand?

Re:What will be the e-ink screen quality? (1)

fafaforza (248976) | about 2 years ago | (#39615115)

> Amazon used lower quality e-ink screens in the touch than the old keyboard Kindle

Got a link? I doubt this is true. The touch tech they use has nothing to do with the eInk screen and I doubt they wouldn't use Pearl. Maybe you're thinking of Sony's first touch attempts that used a layer on top of eInk.

Betteridge's Law of Headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611507)

The question is, does anyone really want or need a light for their Kindle?"

No. [wikipedia.org]

Can any headline ending "?" be answered "no"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611563)

See headline.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 2 years ago | (#39611657)

Article:"The question is, does anyone really want or need a light for their Kindle?"

No.

That wasn't the headline though. I'm wondering if this is the first sign of lots of Slashdotters seizing upon the (very perceptive) Betteridge's Law and overusing it- sometimes out of context and/or incorrectly- to show how perceptive they supposedly are, as has happened with similar observations in the past.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (1)

xigxag (167441) | about 2 years ago | (#39611805)

Not to mention that the answer to the question is obviously "yes" in the strict sense that there has to be someone out there who wants a Kindle with a built in light.

In terms of the implication of "do enough people want a light to be a profitable venture?" the answer can only be, "nobody knows at this point, we'll wait and see," although assuredly Amazon must have some confidence that the economics will work out.

Overall, it's just a stupid idea that Slashdot (cough timothy cough) has that the topics benefit from being kickstarted with a question, no matter how silly. It makes the summary read like the introduction to a middle school term paper.

More significanty, there was a study done in 2010 which indicated, contrary to expectations, that reading on a (backlit) iPad is actually easier than reading on a Kindle [electronista.com]. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to imagine that Amazon looked at that, followed up with their own studies, and ultimately decided to hedge their bets.

Re:Betteridge's Law of Headlines (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613901)

More significanty, there was a study done in 2010 which indicated, contrary to expectations, that reading on a (backlit) iPad is actually easier than reading on a Kindle. It wouldn't be too much of a stretch to imagine that Amazon looked at that, followed up with their own studies, and ultimately decided to hedge their bets.

Contrary to expectations and facts, you mean. Of the current display technologies, e-ink is the business for reading text. It pisses from a great height on any LCD display I've ever seen so far.

It's only if you bring colour/animation into the equation that the balance changes. If you are trying to read under normal conditions (i.e. in sunlight) it's not even remotely a contest - the LCD loses massively, even the clever ones like the Pixel Qi stuff don't match e-ink. Only a seriously distorted and paid for survey could suggest different.

This "flexlight" that Amazon is introducing has two qualities - it's part of the e-ink display (uses one LED), and sips a tiny amount of power and allows you to read in low-light conditions as well as you would in daylight. So you don't need a light on to read with a kindle.

Now what's going to happen in future - I have no idea. But at the moment, if you are reading a novel... e-ink is it.

Nook is going for Flex Lighting, so no surprise (5, Informative)

UCFFool (832674) | about 2 years ago | (#39611531)

It's likely that the Nook will be using Flex Lighting [the-ebook-reader.com] in its next version, due out very soon. There is even a video of it in action [youtu.be] on a reference device. I use a clip-on light, which has the issue of glare off of the screen, so I actually think this is a viable step up, especially since it will not always be used, is always available, and will have a minimal effect on battery life. I'm actually really jealous (since I don't have the cash to play the upgrade game with my Nook Simple Touch).

As long as there is a brightness changer (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611535)

I struggle because I read late at night with the wife asleep next to me. I can't read books then either - because a lamp will wake her up. However, if I could have a very dim backlight - #totalwin

I'm still.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611539)

Not understanding why one would get one of these things instead of just getting a Kindle Fire and having the benefit of the device itself lighting up?

Re:I'm still.... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611557)

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

Re:I'm still.... (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 2 years ago | (#39613175)

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.

Re:I'm still.... (1)

fafaforza (248976) | about 2 years ago | (#39615135)

And yet there are hordes of people that prefer eInk for long reading than LCD, especially with more and more people staring at LCDs for 10 hours a day at work. There are also a number of other benefits of eInk over tablets, but the great thing is that people have that choice, and a light for their reader will just make their device of choice that much more usable to them.

just a minor correction (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611545)

The company they bought was actually Modilis Oy, not Oy Modilis. OY stands for LTD and the proper way to write it is after the company name UNLESS they use the swedish abb. as well; then the name is Oy Modilis Ab.

Just something to be clarified if people want to research the company.

Not blue light! (2, Informative)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 2 years ago | (#39611553)

I wouldn't have a Kindle if you paid me, but occasionally i wouldn't mind if my Kobo touch had a built in light. However, given that recent research has shown that blue light at night is bad for you in various ways, it would be much better if the built in light was towards the red end of the spectrum.

Re:Not blue light! (1)

reub2000 (705806) | about 2 years ago | (#39611599)

If your so worried about night vision, then why not invest in an eye patch?

Re:Not blue light! (3, Funny)

Tim the Gecko (745081) | about 2 years ago | (#39611967)

If your so worried about night vision, then why not invest in an eye patch?

Arrrrr!! Write "you're" next time, or face a keelhaulin', ye scurvy dog!

Re:Not blue light! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39612735)

I think he is more worried that blue light before bed messes up with sleep because light in the blue spectrum is seen by the body as daylight and resets the body clock.

Re:Not blue light! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39612163)

Huh, I was about to reply and go "Blue light's better for your eyes at night," but decided to take a second and see what you might be talking about. Turns out there's some studies showing blue light suppresses melatonin production, so using a blue light in bed would really be bad. I've gotta thank you, and also finally go put some tape over that fucking blue LED in my bedroom that was only mildly annoying before.

Re:Not blue light! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39612215)

Some one gave me one... I have bought a sum total of 2 books and downloaded 10 free ones. That is after 6 months of usage.

Its ok. Bit on the heavy side for long term reading though.

Thing is I have more books already than I can ever read. And just swing by a library or go splunking on the internet if I want something...

It is a neat toy. For someone who is into reading all the time it is probably pretty cool. For someone who reads occasionally (like me) its a 'meh'. I wonder what happens when the battery is no longer any good in it... What happens to my books 10 years from now?

Re:Not blue light! (1)

anagama (611277) | about 2 years ago | (#39613043)

Why -- just why -- does everything have a blue light anymore? Blue LEDs are everywhere and even on devices meant to be used in darkened rooms (monitors, TVs, DVD players, etc). I had been hoping the blue light fad would die out, but it's been years now. When will it end?

Re:Not blue light! (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | about 2 years ago | (#39613211)

I wouldn't have a Kindle if you paid me, but occasionally i wouldn't mind if my Kobo touch had a built in light. However, given that recent research has shown that blue light at night is bad for you in various ways, it would be much better if the built in light was towards the red end of the spectrum.

why so much hate for the kindle?? the thing that invented the e-reader?
i agree that a dim red light would be highly preferable to a bright white one. though it wouldn't look cool in videos and adverts.

Re:Not blue light! (1)

WillKemp (1338605) | about 2 years ago | (#39614907)

why so much hate for the kindle?

I don't hate it, i just don't want one. I try and avoid corporate lock-in wherever i can. If it supported epub format i wouldn't have any problems with it at all.

It depends (1)

jamesl (106902) | about 2 years ago | (#39611575)

The question is, does anyone really want or need a light for their Kindle?

Need? Some do.

Want? It depends on the price. It depends on what Nook offers.

Amazon sells clip-on lights and lighted covers so I guess they have a better idea than anyone of what people want and are willing to pay for.

The Fire is "lighted" by default.

"Does anyone really want a light in their Kindle?" (1)

Ozoner (1406169) | about 2 years ago | (#39611643)

Yes please !!!!!

The Kindle is great, but for some reason it needs a really bright light to read with in bed.

Yes, I want a light. (2)

radio4fan (304271) | about 2 years ago | (#39611655)

The question is, does anyone really want or need a light for their Kindle?

Yes.

To me, it's already like a magic book. A magic book that lights up has got to be better!

Re:Yes, I want a light. (1)

Nimey (114278) | about 2 years ago | (#39613369)

I have such a beast already for my Kindle - my wife bought me the official cover that's got a deployable LED light which gets power from the Kindle's battery. It's pretty slick, and the only complaint I have is that she spent too much on it - I think it was ~$50 for the cover at the time.

colour eInk (1)

Tritium3.016 (2511342) | about 2 years ago | (#39611661)

Perhaps it's to compensate for any deficiencies that colour eInk may exhibit? A colour eInk Kindle being pure speculation on my part of course,

Yes. (3, Interesting)

Xenex (97062) | about 2 years ago | (#39611681)

The question is, does anyone really want or need a light for their Kindle?

Yes. My Kindle has been gathering dust since purchasing an iPad. I actually prefer a backlit screen; easier in low-light conditions. Shrug.

Re:Yes. (1)

Jaktar (975138) | about 2 years ago | (#39611733)

I went full circle. I had a e-ink Nook, then my wife bought a Kindle Fire. Reading on the backlit screen is more tiring than reading on the e-ink screen with an external LED light.

The problem with the Nook is that it has rounded edges, so I pretty much need to find some sort of case to put it in that has a light. All the clips I've tried don't attach well, like they would on a book. It should have come with a built in LED light source.

Re:Yes. (1)

thesandtiger (819476) | about 2 years ago | (#39612089)

Ditto. I loved my Kindle (first version, got it when it came out) but my iPad is much better for me because I tend to mark my books up to hell and gone which was possible but difficult to do with the Kindle.

I also use a lot of reference books, journals, etc. and again while the Kindle let me search, the search capability is much, much easier to work with on the iPad.

Now, if we could have an iPad with a full-color e-ink screen that was as good as the iPad 2 (but retina would be amazing) and just as responsive as the iPad is currently, with the ability to turn on and off backlighting - THAT would be something wonderful and completely compelling for me.

Until (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613049)

Until I saw the 'solution' in action, I was skeptical. But once I saw the video, I was impressed. (And btw I am NOT an Cramazon fanboy.)

The illumation/powerdrain, on/off feature is compelling, and if it means I can use it to light up my tent at night, so much the better. Of course if it projects the image of whatever I'm reading onto the tent walls, I might have to consider it a security risk. But since I don't work for the gubment or surf p()rn while I'm in the woods, it's no big deal.

Keep it the same, make sure I can turn it off! (3)

Secret Agent Man (915574) | about 2 years ago | (#39611771)

The Kindle is a neat little thing. It's the closest thing to a book in terms of text, and can store nigh-unlimited amounts of books. I love the size and the fact that it's comfortable to read for long periods of time. I have the Kindle app on my iPad too, but I can't stare at a backlit screen with a white background for that long. With that said, there's nothing wrong with adding new features! If I'm in an area without much natural light (say, riding in a car at night where turning on other lights may distract the driver), then a backlit screen would be great. As long as I can turn the backlight off (further preserving the awesome battery life, which I forgot to mention in the last paragraph), I'm all for it!

Yes it does need a light (1)

Torp (199297) | about 2 years ago | (#39611819)

Dimmable and with an on/off switch please, and then i may stop reading on the iPad :)

Maybe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611899)

I use my Kindle regularly and occasionally wish it were backlit. But only occasionally. I am 64 and my eyes are a bit fuzzy under low light reading conditions. But with native eBooks I can adjust the type size to compensate and rescale later when the light improves. PDFs are a problem, however. The zoom function is less than satisfactory for reading and I have largely abandoned trying to read pdf format magazines on the Kindle. Those stay on the server and get read from a laptop. And the network connection stays off unless I have an urge to shop. The other posters are right, the Kindle does one thing only and does it well -- when my existing unit packs it in I would not reject a Kindle with built-in screen lighting. But I would not switch to one for it if my existing DX still worked.

Wrong question (0)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 years ago | (#39611901)

The question should rather be, does anyone want or need a Kindle altogether who doesn't already have one?

Seriously, if that's the big feature, then keep it. Not only because backlighting is about the most tiring way to illuminate text, simply because ... who will sensibly buy a new kindle for the single reason that he can avoid attaching a light source?

A light for the kindle would sell quite a bit better if you ask me.

Re:Wrong question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39611961)

Who wants to attach a clunky light? One of the things I love about the kindle touch is that it is small and sleek. I can tuck in in my back pocket or an inside pocket of my coat. I can always have it with me. I want to be able to read in dark locations but I don't want some bulky light that sucks down batteries. I'd pay and extra $50 to have an efficient light built into the unit.

Re:Wrong question (1)

KevReedUK (1066760) | about 2 years ago | (#39613501)

... backlighting is about the most tiring way to illuminate text...

From TFS:

going to have a front-lit display.

Glad to see it's still situation normal around here with few reading TFS, and fewer still TFA. They say the Slashdot effect has mostly disappeared due to advances in server capabilities, but I'm starting to think it's because the percentage of us who actually bother to follow the links is dwindling into insignificance!

Blue is certainly an intersesting choice (1)

milbournosphere (1273186) | about 2 years ago | (#39612003)

I've always found that orange hued displays are easiest on my eyes. Blue is up there on the visible wavelength, and most of the blue LEDs out there are shockingly bright. You'd think they'd go for something lower in the spectrum.

Airplanes! (1)

errandum (2014454) | about 2 years ago | (#39612113)

Surprised no one mentioned this. On long overnight trips all the lights go out, and there are times when you can't (or shouldn't) use the seat lights. I already use the cover that provides light, but it provides very little in the way of protection to the kindle, so it's a hassle keep putting it on and off.

I'd trade my kindle for a new one if they came up with a lighted one.

no more blue light please (1)

billyswong (1858858) | about 2 years ago | (#39612147)

There are already too many stupid gadgets in blue since the advancement of blue LED. Blue light disrupt sleeping cycle and irritate my eyes. Be friendly and give me a softer light please. (Since it is probably done in LED) Amber or green would be great, just don't use blue.

Tri-colour LEDs (RGB) (1)

JustNiz (692889) | about 2 years ago | (#39612573)

It would be great if they used tri-colour LEDs so that you could smoothly tune the light colour across the spectrum, to choose the colour best for readability in the environment you're currently in.

Re:Tri-colour LEDs (RGB) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39612915)

THIS!

Of course, being a 50um thick wide-area light-guide it probably invokes some clever optical properties to create that even glow, and may well be sensitive to precise placement of the LED. But if they could get a tri-color LED with all three elements within the tolerance threshold... well that would certainly be my first pick.

Information (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39612603)

The question is, does anyone really want or need a light for their Kindle?

There *is* such a thing as a stupid question.

Silly Final Sentence (1)

skywire (469351) | about 2 years ago | (#39613143)

The question is, does anyone really want or need a light for their Kindle?

That's a lot like ending a story about a new agricultural technology with "But does anyone really want or need to eat?"

Bigger screen + better refresh rate (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39613253)

As much as I love my Kindle for giving me back my summer days, it and other e-readers are fundamentally flawed for about 50% of my reading experiences.

Aside from novels, most of what I read are textbooks and scientific papers in .pdf format. As .pdfs cannot do line wrap like their .epub and .mobi counterpart, whenever you're given a paper initially rendered with a somewhat small font on a large page size, your options are very limited.

1. You can try to convert it to .mobi or .epub but it will most likely fail if your source contains any diagrams or mathematical equations.
2. You can zoom out while the texts becomes hardly readable.
3. You can switch your kindle orientation to landscape so that the screen can at least encompass a whole line but as your pages become split in two half, the reading experience quickly becomes really tedious if every now and then you need to refer to some diagram at the top/bottom of the page.

The only solution (aside from some magic software that could do a proper conversion) really is to have a BIG screen and this is why I bought a Kindle Dx. Still, let me tell you that for around 50% of what I read (novels put aside), it's clearly not enough.

The second problem, partly related to the screen size issue, is the refresh rate. For technical papers especially, I often find myself in the need to do some back and fourth between my current location and say, some figure 4 or 5 pages back and when you wish to do this quickly on a e-ink reader, the page rendering time is simply just too slow. (Aside from that, that small keyboard configuration where you need to press alt to enter any number (read page numbers) really is the most annoying of things for a device where most of what you'll ever be wanting to enter are in fact page numbers).

While a front-lit display sure is a nice to have, those are, in my opinion, the real issues Amazon will have to solve if they wish to provide a proper e-reader.

Re:Bigger screen + better refresh rate (1)

fafaforza (248976) | about 2 years ago | (#39615197)

What you say has been argued back and forth for years now. eInk is what it is. And it's up to the maker of the screen, not Amazon, to improve it. eInk isn't an LCD, so if you want to watch movies, you don't buy an eInk reader. It really can't be simpler than that. If you want to flip around large page format documents, a 6" eInk likely isn't for you.

As for PDF, it really depends on the document. Text-only ones can reflow nicely on Sony's reader. You can use PDF authoring software to crop the pages. You can use the reader in landscape mode. And use any combination of the aforementioned.

It's the same debate in everything, even motorcycling. I like to commute in the city, but would also like to go on long trips. A touring bike with luggage is nice for the trip, but a small displacement "naked" bike is better for the city. So you either have one of each for each style of riding you do, or you compromise, you get a "jack of all trades," and you try to work around the shortcomings.

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