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Amazon Kindle may get lit E Ink display to fight tablets

updated 03:30 pm EDT, Fri April 6, 2012

Amazon snaps up Oy Modilis to get night Kindle use

The combination of a leak and discoveries has revealed that Amazon is likely developing a unique illuminated E Ink screen. A source showing a disguised prototype in person to TechCrunch had an adjustable screen that evenly lit up with a cool light. The effect was like that of a white LED, but softer and easier to read, according to the anecdote.

The technology would stem from Oy Modilis, a Finnish company that Amazon quietly bought near the end of 2010. As shown in patents, it would reflect light across the screen instead of creating only a spot for each light.

Although most details were unavailable for the hardware itself apart from the sensitivity slider. Having undergone a major redesign last year, however, Amazon may be more likely to use it in an evolution of existing designs than rethink its concepts. By its nature, the illumination would scrap the need for lighting accessories at the likely expense of some battery life.

A launch is believed to be coming later this year and might fit in with the late summer or early fall schedule that Amazon kept in 2011.

The use of illumination would help Amazon both reduce the amount to which the Kindle Fire cannibalizes lower-end Kindles as well as stave off competition from full-fledged tablets like the iPad. Although price differences usually keep E Ink readers and full tablets from directly competing with each other, it reduces the incentive to opt a competitor's tablet and get better reading in low light without needing a clip-on accessory.

By Electronista Staff


  1. LunarMoon

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2008


    fight tablets, how?

    kindle cannot compete with tablets in any way. Kindle is on another category, or electronic book readers and it is not competing with iPad. The iPad perhaps is competing with Kindle, because it is stolen customers that would buy a Kindle, not the contrary.

  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: Jul 2006


    Bluetooth keyboard

    I love my Kindle 3 and have planned to keep it for a long time. But an illuminated screen would be tempting.

    That said, it's probably not enough. What all the epaper Kindles desperately need are drivers that'd use the Bluetooth capability in the existing WiFi chip to add Bluetooth keyboard and mouse capabilities. The keyboard would be a far better way to take notes than any of the existing means. The mouse could be set up to let people use the mouse buttons to page through a book. The latter would be great for those with disabilities. Instead of some $200+ mechanical gadget, they could use a $10 mouse.

  1. rumplestiltskin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2010


    Just look at the photo

    I think the photo shows clearly why e-ink didn't catch on the way the mfrs thought it would. I had a Sony eReader and, unless I was in direct sunlight, reading was a pain. I couldn't even read in bed without leaning way over so the screen had direct light on it from my bedside lamp. I sold the Sony and bought a color Nook; it's far superior. No, I don't read in direct sunlight; it's way too hot here in El Paso for that.

  1. BigMac2

    Forum Regular

    Joined: Dec 2000


    One trick pony

    E-Ink is way too overrated. E-Ink is the best solution for reading static text at daylight, and thats about it. It can't match LCD or OLED for generic use.

  1. Sean.Perrin

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Sep 2008



    Why is the Kindle trying to compete with a tablet. Sure it's convenient to have my kindle books on my ipad, but I almost NEVER read them there.

    The kindle is what it is... an electronic book. Books don't have or need a backlight. Turn on a lamp and read as normal! It's not rocket science.

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