Report: Amazon to Release Front-Lit Kindle in July

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Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

E Ink — easy on the eyes, not so easy to read in the dark. That’s why Amazon is planning on releasing a new Kindle with front lighting, according to a “source” who talked to Reuters.

The new Kindle will reportedly be released in July, available in Kindle Touch 3G and Kindle Touch Wi-Fi versions. While it might seem like a no-brainer to make a front-lit e-reader, up until now Kindle owners have had to attach an external light to their devices to read in the dark.

Reuters’ source also claims that Amazon is planning to release a new Kindle Fire with an 8.9-inch display — a significant increase from its current 7-inch display.

Amazon is behind its competitor Barnes & Noble when it comes to the lit e-reader category. In his hands-on review, our own Harry McCracken said the illumination from the Nook Simple Touch with GlowLight “makes the screen perfectly readable even in an otherwise pitch-black room, and also helps in environments where the lighting is so-so rather than nonexistent.”

While the lights do drain the battery, the fact that you can turn them off whenever you want means there is “little downside” to adding lighting, said Harry — except, of course, for the price bump. Opting for GlowLight will add $40 to your Nook, putting the final price at $139.

Whether or not the rumored new Kindle will involve a similar increase in price is unknown, although Reuters’ reports that “Amazon was likely to keep prices the same, or raise them by a very small margin, if at all,” according to the source.

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