When it comes to reading e-books, the lines are firmly drawn between those who prefer to read on E-Ink screens and those who prefer backlit displays like those found on iPads and smartphones. Well, according to Tech Crunch's Devin Coldewey, Amazon is working on a solution to appease both camps: a Kindle with a front-lit display.
Coldewey got a chance to visit Amazon's Lab 126 and see what Jeff Bezos' company is cooking up. He found out that Amazon is working with a company it acquired in 2010 called Oy Modilis that specializes in light-guide technology. He was then show a prototype of the device:
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.
If Amazon is truly able to make a Kindle that is able to be read in the dark, one where the reader doesn't have to incure the same eyestrain that comes from reading on a smartphone or tablet display, it will have a real game changer on its hands.