April 6, 2012 by David K. Sutton
New Amazon Kindle E-Reader To Have ‘Glowing’ E-Ink Screen?
Devin Coldewey at TechCrunch reports that the next generation Amazon Kindle e-reader to be released later this year will have a front-lit e-Ink display.
Coldewey was able to play with a pre-production version of the new e-reader device and had this to say:
The device I saw was crudely camouflaged in a sort of cardboard enclosure, but the screen was clearly visible. With a tap, a slider popped up on the screen, and as it was dragged to the right, the screen lit up evenly with a rather cool light. In the dark, it was plainly noticeable as a glow, and in uneven light — say, shade or a shuttered room — the slight illumination made the screen much more readable. At full blast it was definitely projecting some light (technically speaking it was reflecting it), but it was still a soft glow and not the harsh flashlight of a backlit LCD.
I don’t think it’s necessary for e-readers based on e-Ink displays to have self-illuminating screens. I think one of the great aspects of the e-Ink display is how it mimics the look of a printed page and is lit the same way you would light a piece of paper, with an external light source (lamp or sun). But as long as the technology they are using to light the screen doesn’t negatively impact the look of the screen (when it’s not self-lit) then it’s probably a worth-while added feature. A question that remains is how much of an impact the lighting will have on battery life, which has always been excellent on the Kindle.