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Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

May 14, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Amazon prepping new Kindle with light?

Amazon.com may be preparing to release a new Kindle with built-in lighting in July, according to a Reuters report.

Although Amazon’s Kindle is the leading e-book reader, it’s facing tough new competition at the lower end of the market from a new Nook with a “GlowLight” feature that illuminates the black and white E Ink display.

Adding an internal light source would decrease the battery life of the Kindle but wouldn’t add much to the cost, the report said.

I’ve been using one of the GlowLight Nooks for more than a week on a single charge. By pressing the home button for several seconds, it activates an adjustable light that makes the E Ink device usable in the dark or poor lighting.

Lighting is key for books, especially electronic ones. Barnes & Noble said its surveys found about two-thirds of Americans read in bed, and one in four read in bed five to seven nights a week.

To address the Kindle lighting challenge, Amazon introduced an accessory cover in 2010 that has a pop-up reading light.

Amazon also is preparing a 9-inch Kindle Fire tablet to launch closer to the holiday season, according to the Reuters report, which credits a source who has seen a prototype.

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