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Old 08-14-2010, 03:50 PM   #1
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Edge lighting

How difficult would it be to install a row of LEDs around the edge of the e-Ink display? Am I wrong in assuming it would light up the whole screen (K2&3)? Would it be a drain on battery life?
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Old 08-14-2010, 04:57 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by Kumabjorn View Post
How difficult would it be to install a row of LEDs around the edge of the e-Ink display? Am I wrong in assuming it would light up the whole screen (K2&3)? Would it be a drain on battery life?
Not if you built up a front and back cover panel to hold the LEDs and put a flat-pack battery in the rear panel.

Of course, you'll probably end up doubling the weight, but there are *always* trade-offs.

Derek
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Old 08-14-2010, 05:05 PM   #3
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Sony experimented with side-lighting their PRS-700 Reader. Reviews were mixed, but Sony must have received more user complaints than praise, because the model was quickly discontinued, and none of their current models feature a lit screen.

One problem with side-lighting is that there's no good way to light the screen and preserve the quality of the e-Ink display. Bare LEDs cause too much glare, and adding glass (or plastic, or polycarbonate, etc.) atop the screen to diffuse the light has a negative effect on screen clarity. Also, heat buildup and battery drain can occur with extended use.

I'd like the convenience of a built-in light, but not at the expense of making my eyes work harder to read the screen. That's why I ordered Amazon's new lighted case. I'm skeptical that it can provide good light coverage without excessive battery drain, and I'm concerned about adding weight and bulk to the device. But, Amazon has a generous return policy, so I'm willing to give it a try.
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Old 08-14-2010, 10:43 PM   #4
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What about the glass/plastic panel that covers the e-Ink display? Could that be made to illuminate the text?
I got a M-Edge cover with the e-Luminator 2 and while that is a good solution for protecting the Kindle, it is a tad cumbersome for reading in bed. I'd prefer to have a "naked" Kindle beside me, but without the need for ambient light.
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Old 08-14-2010, 11:54 PM   #5
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I find the clip on book lights work pretty well for me. Since the glare on the Kindle is minimal, it's pretty good for reading in low light. But, of course, that's just me

Last edited by Dr. Drib; 12-09-2011 at 05:15 AM.
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Old 08-15-2010, 12:17 AM   #6
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Sony experimented with side-lighting their PRS-700 Reader. Reviews were mixed, but Sony must have received more user complaints than praise, because the model was quickly discontinued, and none of their current models feature a lit screen.
I went to check it out in a SonyStyle shop when it was current and it just didn't work the way it ought. The lens required to diffuse the light really impacted the overall clarity of the screen. I felt bad for it since I, like many of us vocal in this ebook community at the time, had voiced a similar thought. Couldn't we just build a Lightwedge-style light into a reader? Sony actually did it, likely in response to user feedback. We said 'do it' and they did it.

It reminds me a bit of my experience whilst playing a Sony game. It was a massively multiplayer online role playing game (abbreviated a MMORPG, and often called a Mass MOG, for folks that aren't involved in such things). There was, as in most of these games, an active online forum where people would ask questions and give feedback. You have thousands, sometimes millions, of people playing together. You play a type of character that has advantages and disadvantages. It's common for people to feel a class they play has disproportionate disadvantages over other classes. Whining on boards is rampant. Some of the criticism is apt, no doubt. Some of it is merely whining. The loudest voice isn't necessarily correct. One of the challenges, of course, is separating the wheat from the chaff. Your users may have many ideas that sound very good, good enough to get the product manager to champion them. However, adequate investigation and testing of the idea should reveal the weaknesses. In the Sony games I played as well as with the Sony sidelighting (and touchscreen for that matter) the downsides of the implementation could be seen with the right testing.

I must, at this point, offer a huge disclaimer that this is just my gut instinct after my years in engineering, but it seems to me that Sony's willingness to place marketeer feedback above engineering is leading to their downfall. They don't bring enough of a critical eye to the customer feedback. Just because you have a ton of customers agitating for sidelighting and touchscreens doesn't mean you should deploy them if you can't do it with the high quality people expect from Sony. Their brand is being steadily eroded and I think it is marketing-driven decisions like this (rather than engineering-driven decisions) that are making this happen. Their hardware took a big hit in quality when they reduced their parts list for cost. (They reuse parts in many different devices rather than choosing the best part for a design. That highly-customized BOM was the heart of Sony's impeccable quality.) These sorts of decisions seem to me like another sign of the venerable engineering powerhouse being dismantled brick-by-brick by marketeers and MBAs with Wharton degrees and little sense.

tl;dr: Dear Sony, Quit listening to every whiner on your forum and start listening to your engineers. Cheers, Alisa
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Old 08-15-2010, 03:06 PM   #7
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What about the glass/plastic panel that covers the e-Ink display? Could that be made to illuminate the text?
I'm not sure that it can be done without compromising screen contrast and clarity. Certainly, no one's found a way to do it, yet. I think that Reflective LCD readers (e.g. JetBook) might have a better shot at internal lighting, but, they're not doing it, either.
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