updated 09:00 pm EDT, Thu May 17, 2012
No color Kindle Reader yet, Reuters says
Amazon is preparing to release a front-lit version of its Kindle e-reader and a new, bigger version of its Kindle Fire tablet, a source tells Reuters. The source claims to have seen prototypes for the devices, and says they will likely be released in July. A front-lit Kindle e-reader would allow users to read in the dark without the need for an external light attachment.
The new light comes with a trade-off, though: the light will consume battery power more quickly, cutting down on users' maximum reading time should they use it. The new Kindle is expected to launch with both 3G and Wi-Fi versions, and the light will likely add about $10 to its cost.
The lighting technology is likely to come from Amazon's acquisition of Oy Modilis in 2010, which gave the company control over several patents regarding front-lit lighting systems.
The new Kindle Fire is expected to have an 8.9-inch display. As the device would then be closer in size to Apple's iPad, this change would likely bring the two tablets into closer competition.
Shortly after its release last year, the Kindle Fire quickly became the most popular Android tablet, while still trailing Apple's iPad. After the holiday season, though, sales of the device dropped sharply.
The source also played down the possibility of a color Kindle e-reader, which had been rumored to be in the works. The technology, the source said, needs improvement before it is ready to be used in a mass-produced device.