Internet retail giant Amazon plans to release new versions of its Kindle e-reader and Kindle Fire tablet with front lighting for better viewing in the dark.
The enhanced devices could be on the market by this July, according to a report by Reuters quoting a source that claims to have seen a prototype.
Amazon rival Barnes & Noble was first to market with a built-in light, included in a version of its Nook e-reader released last month. The Nook Simple Touch is available with “GlowLight” which the company says provides a soft, adjustable glow designed to offer just enough light for reading in bed without disturbing a sleeping spouse. The feature is not yet available for the company's Nook Tablet however.
The Reuters report, unconfirmed by Amazon, didn’t detail how sophisticated Amazon’s light technology might be. Barnes & Noble touts the fact that the GlowLight does double duty, helping users read in the dark but also in bright sunlight.
Analyst Tim Bajarin said he expects Amazon to bring out a new Kindle Fire model this summer with the front-lit display as well as other improvements.
“At the very least there are some industrial design and things they can do to improve over the first generation Kindle Fire,” Bajarin, president of Creative Strategies, told TabTimes. “They need to fix the lack of a volume control button and the position of the on/off switch and I think the next model will just be a lot sleeker.”
Bajarin said his contacts in the supply chain said the next Kindle Fire will be another 7-inch model, but they don’t think the rumored bigger device, with an 8.9-inch display, will be released this summer.